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Mary Rose Museum: Finalist for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2014

A fantastic piece of news for Hampshire Solent sub-regions: The new Mary Rose Museum that opened 31 May 2013 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, is one of six finalists selected for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2014.

Awarded annually with a value of £100,000, the prize was established in 2003 (formally the Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries 2003-2007) to recognise the very best of the UK’s internationally acclaimed museums. It has been supported by the Art Fund since 2008.  Previous winners include the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, London (2013); the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (2012), and the British Museum, London (2011). The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the National Gallery in London on Wednesday 9 July 2014.

The finalists were chosen by an independent panel of judges chaired by Art Fund director, Stephen Deuchar.  The judges are: Sally Bacon, director of the Clore Duffield Foundation; Michael Craig-Martin RA, artist; Wim Pijbes director of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and Anna Somers Cocks, chief executive of The Art Newspaper.

Rear Admiral John Lippiett Chief Executive Officer Mary Rose Trust said, ‘For the first time we have displayed the ship together with thousands of Tudor artefacts most of which have not been seen before. This unique Tudor assembly was recovered from the wreck site and everything has been conserved and prepared for display in our own workshops by a wonderful dedicated team. The quality and intensely personal nature of the objects found on board is breath taking and the collection gives a unique insight into life 500 years ago. We have already had over 250,000 visitors in the four months since opening and we have enjoyed the most wonderful reaction and feedback. Our aspirations have been met and indeed exceeded.’

Stephen Deuchar, chair of the judges, said, ‘2013 was a strong year, by any standards, for UK museums and it was no easy task to select a shortlist of six from an extraordinary body of applications.  It is almost as if imaginative and innovative curatorship, combined with the highest standards of presentation, is no longer the exception but the rule. No wonder that the international reputation of UK museums is riding so high, and we’re delighted that the Museum of the Year will salute this through both the process of the competition and, of course, the £100,000 Prize.’

The six museums which have been selected as finalists for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year are: Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, South Downs; Hayward Gallery, London; The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth; Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich; Tate Britain, London; and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield.