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Shortlist For Museum Of The Year 2021 Announced

Five finalists for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 have been announced. The prestigious annual award includes the world’s largest museum prize, with £100,000 going to the winning institution, The Art Newspaper reports. The winner will be announced in September.

The competition recognises museums which have found extraordinary and innovative ways to serve and connect with their communities over the last year.

The five shortlisted museums include: Centre for Contemporary Art Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland; Experience Barnsley in Yorkshire; Firstsite in Colchester, Essex; Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds; and Timespan in Helmsdale, northeast Scotland.

The four runners-up will receive £15,000 in recognition of the effort and achievements they have made during the difficulties of the pandemic.

Speaking to the BBC on behalf of the judges, Jenny Waldman highlighted that the five finalists: “are all deeply embedded in their communities and alive to the possibilities of reaching far beyond their locality digitally,” and that, “each have shown extraordinary innovation and resolve.”

The Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Derry-Londonderry was shortlisted for supporting 65 artists with paid opportunities over the past year, including social media access to the gallery during lockdown. It also adapted its biennial group exhibition in the spring to the windows of public places across the city.

Firstsite is a contemporary art gallery in Colchester which organised more that 50 established artists to create free online activity packs for families during the lockdown. Experience Barnsley in South Yorkshire, which curates objects and stories relevant to the area’s history, is commended for its digital outreach and care packages.

The Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds became, appropriately enough, the first museum to be transformed into a Covid-19 vaccination centre last December. Timespan in Helmsdale, Scotland, is a local history museum with a contemporary art programme and shop, bakery, and café. During the pandemic, it acted as an online community hub.

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