Belfast's Ulster Museum presented with £100,000 Art Fund Prize in London ceremony
At a reception at the RIBA in London this week, the Ulster Museum in Belfast was announced as the 2010 recipient of the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries. Beating other shortlisted entries The Ashmolean Museum, Blists Hill Victorian, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum to the punch, the Ulster Museum was praised for its ‘all-round excellence’.
It was awarded the prize in recognition of ‘Opening up the Ulster Museum’ – a three year, £17.8m project which created a series of new galleries, Learning Zones, an Applied Art Gallery and a three-storey-high Window On Our World display. Alongside the Fund Prize of £100,000, the Ulster Museum received an enamelled silver bowl made by Vladimir Bohm, to display for the next year.
Tim Cooke, Director of National Museums Northern Ireland, said, “We are delighted on Northern Ireland’s behalf. This is the first time in Northern Ireland’s history that a prestigious cultural prize of this nature has been awarded to an institution in the region. This prize will encourage us as we endeavour to play a meaningful role at the heart of our changing society.”
Besides the esteemed judging panel including broadcaster Kirsty Young, museums and heritage adviser Kathy Gee and artist Jonathon Yeo, The Art Fund Prize website hosted a poll, allowing the public to cast their vote on who should be awarded the annual prize and give reasons for their choices. The new system was complete success, receiving 73,000 votes and over 40,000 comments.