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  • Turner Contemporary Photo Hufton + Crow
Turner Contemporary has today been longlisted for the Art Fund Prize 2012, the UK’s annual ‘museum of the year’ award, and the biggest prize for arts and cultural organisations in the country. Ten museums in total across the country are in with the chance to win £100,000 and the prestigious award, which will be announced on 19 June 2012.

Victoria Pomery Director Turner Contemporary, said: ‘I am absolutely thrilled that Turner Contemporary has been long listed for the 2012 Art Fund Prize. We’ve had an amazing first year with many thousands of visitors enjoying the gallery, programme and Margate. Our current highly acclaimed Turner exhibition opened 2012 with a bang and the great news today continues to demonstrate what an impact Turner Contemporary is having. We are delighted.’
Lord Smith of Finsbury, Chair of the Judges, said: ‘Whittling the achievements of Britain’s museums over the past year down to a list of ten was an unbelievably challenging task. The outstanding quality of the projects that we finally settled on, however, perfectly encapsulates the vitality and dynamism of a part of our nation’s cultural life that continues to innovate, push boundaries and engage the public, even in these straitened times.’
The ten longlisted museums are:
Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, Bucks.: The Life and Works of Alan Turing
M Shed, Bristol: A New Museum for Bristol
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh: National Museum of Scotland Development
Riverside Museum, Scotland's Museum of Transport and Travel, Glasgow: Riverside Museum Project
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, Devon: RAMM Development Project
The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, West Yorkshire: The Hepworth Wakefield
The Holburne Museum, Bath, Somerset: The Holburne Museum Development Project
The National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh: Portrait of the Nation
Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent: Turner Contemporary
Watts Gallery, Guildford, Surrey: The Watts Gallery Hope Project
The Art Fund Prize 2012 rewards excellence and innovation in museums and galleries in the UK for a project completed or undertaken in 2011.

Following a shortlist of four museums to be announced on 14 May, the £100,000 cash prize will be awarded to the ‘Museum of the Year’ at a ceremony at the British Museum on 19 June. The annual prize has been awarded since 2003.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: ‘This year’s Art Fund Prize longlist truly reveals the creativity and ambition of museums and galleries beyond London. The vitality of our cultural treasures nationwide is a hugely important resource, and the Art Fund is extremely proud to celebrate these museums’ achievements through its sponsorship of the ‘museum of the year’ prize.’

Sally Abbott is Regional Director, Arts Council England, South East, which invested more than £4 million of Lottery funding into creating Turner Contemporary and is supporting the gallery with more than £1.7 million between 2012 and 2015 as part of its National Funding Portfolio. 
Sally says: ‘Turner Contemporary is one of the most ambitious contemporary art spaces outside London to be opened in recent years and it’s great to see that being recognised by the Art Fund. Great art enriches lives, and Turner Contemporary is helping more people experience and be inspired by the arts both regionally and nationally. We wish the Turner Contemporary team the best of luck in taking home this prestigious prize.’
The longlist was chosen by a panel of experts chaired by Lord Smith of Finsbury, former Labour MP and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The other judges are Professor Jim Al‐Khalili OBE, theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster; Charlotte Higgins, Guardian journalist and author; Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, author and broadcaster; Sir Mark Jones, Master at St Cross College, Oxford and former V&A director; Rick Mather, architect; and Lisa Milroy, artist and Head of Graduate Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
The shortlist of four museums will be announced on 14 May 2012 and the winner on 19 June 2012.
‘Have Your Say’ online forum
Also launching today is the opportunity for local champions of each of the longlisted museums to say why their chosen museum should win the Art Fund Prize 2012. Members of the public are invited to log on to and leave their comments, a selection of which will be presented to the judges to consider when they come to decide the shortlist. Anyone who posts a comment will automatically be entered into prize draw to win an iPad 2. The forum and prize draw close at 11.59pm on Sunday 22 April 2012.
The Art Fund Prize is administered by The Museum Prize, a charitable company created in 2001 by representatives of National Heritage, the Museums Association, the Art Fund and the Campaign for Museums and chaired by Lady Cobham. These organisations agreed to put aside award schemes they formerly ran (including National Heritage’s Museum of the Year) and lend their support to this single major prize.

The Art Fund has sponsored The Museum Prize since 2008. The Art Fund is the national charity which helps museums and galleries to buy, show and share art for the enjoyment of all. Over the past five years, the Art Fund has given £24 million to buy art and supported a range of projects and programmes aimed at helping more people enjoy art.

The Art Fund is independently funded and the majority of its income comes from almost 90,000 supporters who purchase a National Art Pass, costing from just £37.50, which gives free entry to over 200 museums, galleries and historic houses across the country as well as 50% off major exhibitions.

Find out more about the Art Fund and how to buy a National Art Pass at


Posted by: Turner Contemporary on Tue 7 Feb 2012