Ulster Museum Scoops Top UK Award

The Ulster Museum has won one of the most prestigious museums prizes in the world.

At a recent awards ceremony in London, the museum was presented with the £100,000 UK Art Fund Prize.

The museum, which reopened in October 2009, following a £17.2m rejuvenation, faced competition from museums across England, Scotland and Wales and last month reached the final shortlist of four, along with the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford), Blists Hill Victorian Town (Shropshire) and The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum (Coventry).

The competition involved an online public vote as well as a rigorous judging process led by broadcaster Kirsty Young.

Tim Cooke, Director of National Museums Northern Ireland, said: "Rejuvenating the Ulster Museum in Belfast has been a deeply rewarding and purposeful experience coinciding with a remarkable period of change in Northern Ireland’s history. The public appetite for the new space and for engagement with our collections has been huge – as evidenced by the record visitor numbers and the massive level of support for the public vote element of the Art Fund Prize.

"I am grateful to all our visitors and supporters for their vital interest, to our funders, including the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Heritage Lottery Fund, to all National Museums Northern Ireland staff involved in the project and to the Art Fund Prize judges for all their time, care and enthusiasm. It is particularly humbling for us to be selected for this prize against such high calibre competition."

He continued: "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."

Northern Ireland Culture Minister, Nelson McCausland commended museum staff for "their commitment and creativity, which has enabled the museum to win this superb award".

Since reopening, the Ulster Museum has become Northern Ireland’s busiest visitor attraction with visitor numbers to date of over 420,000.


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