Art Fund Museum of the Year shortlist revealed
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Art Fund Museum of the Year shortlist revealed

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The shortlist for this year's Museum of the Year Award has been revealed, with the Brooklands Museum, Ferens Art Gallery, Glasgow Women’s Library, the Postal Museum and Tate St Ives all in the running for the prestigious prize.

The Art Fund – a non-profit charity which raises funds to aid the acquisition of artworks for Britain – awards the Museum of the Year prize annually to one outstanding museum, which has shown "exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement" in the preceding year.

Brooklands in Weybridge, the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit, has expanded its on-site museum recently, completing the transformation of a Grade II-listed hangar into the Brooklands Aircraft Factory. The attraction also tells the story of 80 years of aviation design, testing and manufacture on the Brooklands site.

The Ferens Art Gallery was at the centre of Hull's event schedule last year, when the city was designated the UK City of Culture 2017. After undergoing a £5.2m (US$7m, €5.9m) refurbishment, the Ferens reopened in January last year, welcoming more than 500,000 people – accounting for half of the total museum visitors to the city in that year.

Also nominated is the Glasgow Women's Library in Scotland, which is the UK’s only accredited museum dedicated to women’s history. Established 26 years ago, the museum recently underwent a £1.8m (US$2.4m, €2m) refurbishment, with its 25th-anniversary programme doubling visitor numbers.

London's Postal Museum makes the shortlist after opening in July last year, with the £26m (US$33.2m, €30.5m) attraction chronicling five centuries of social and communication history across Britain. The museum also features the subterranean Mail Rail – an underground train ride following London's postal rail network.

Also reopening last year, Cornwall's Tate St Ives is the final nominee, following a £20m (US$27.1m, €22.7m) redevelopment. Jamie Fobert Architects’ cliffside extension has doubled the exhibition space, with the aim of better accommodating the 250,000 annual visitors to the attraction. With an additional 600sq m (6,500sq ft) floor space, the gallery can now host more exhibits, display more works and offer new educational and studio spaces, including a collection care suite where larger works can be handled.

The Art Fund prize winner will be announced on 5 July at a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. The winner will also receive £100,000 (US$136,000, €113,500), while the four other shortlisted museums will each receive £10,000 (US$13,600, €11,350).

"Each of our five finalists has tapped into very current concerns: the progress of Glasgow Women’s Library exemplifies the quickening march towards equality; the Postal Museum addresses our first social network; Brooklands is inspiring the next generation of engineers; and the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull and Tate St Ives are galvanising their communities around visual culture," said Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar.

"Each one expands the very idea of what a museum can be. I would encourage everyone to see and experience them first-hand."

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The shortlist for this year's Museum of the Year Award has been revealed, with the Brooklands Museum, Ferens Art Gallery, Glasgow Women’s Library, the Postal Museum and Tate St Ives all in the running for the prestigious prize.
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