The five contenders for the Art Fund museum of the year prize have been praised for being ‘deeply embedded’ in their local communities.
Up for the £100,000 prize are the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Derry, Experience Barnsley, the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds, Firstsite in Colchester, and Timespan in Helmsdale, a village on the east coast of the Scottish Highlands.
Jenny Waldman, the director of the Art Fund, said “It has been incredible to see what museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK have achieved, overcoming the challenges of the past year. Their resilience is nothing short of heroic. Our five finalists are all deeply embedded in their communities and alive to the possibilities of reaching far beyond their locality digitally.”
Some of the activities held by these museums in their communities have been virtual trips to the pub, the formation of a young gardeners’ club and downloadable artist-led activity packs.
In previous years many of the UK’s biggest museums have been nominated, with the prize won by the V&A in 2016 and the British Museum in 2011. This year the list is wholly occupied by smaller organisations.
The judges for this year’s prize include Maria Balshaw, the director of Tate, and the broadcaster Edith Bowman. They will visit all five museums and the winner will be announced on 20 September.