For press enquiries, please contact:

Iliana Taliotis, Kate Wright-Morris or Liz Sich at Colman Getty

  Telephone: 020 7631 2666
Fax: 020 7631 2699
Out of hours: 07931 341 112


Press release

Long list announced for UK’s largest arts prize

From a new museum aquarium to an exhibition on prostitution, from Britain’s smallest royal palace to a Modernist pavilion - ten museums and gallery projects have been long-listed for The Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries. Announced today, Friday 2 February, the ten will now compete for the coveted £100,000 prize.

The long list is as follows:

  • Braintree District Museum for the Warner Textile Archive, Essex
    A unique record of the manufacture and design of textiles over the past 200 years, housed in the original 19th century mill where most of the textiles were created.
  • De La Warr Pavilion for its re-launch, Bexhill-on-sea, East Sussex
    One of the world's finest examples of Modernist architecture, now a leading centre for contemporary art, architecture, education and live performance. 
  • Horniman Museum for their new Aquarium, London
    An inventive and innovative display of exotic fish and other sea creatures, aimed at young museum visitors.  It has attracted over 110,000 visitors in its first five months.
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum for their New Century Project, Glasgow
    A £28m project to restore and re-display Glasgow’s magnificent civic art gallery and museum, creating a universal space for the 21st century. 
  • Kew Palace, Historic Royal Palaces, Surrey
    Restoration of King George III’s country retreat and Britain’s smallest royal palace, revealing rooms that have not been seen for 200 years.
  • Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex
    Contemporary building space combined with a Grade I listed Queen Anne townhouse to exhibit one of the world’s best 20th century British art collections.
  • Scotland & Medicine: Collections & Connections, Scotland
    A partnership led by Surgeons' Hall Museum in Edinburgh, promoting Scottish medical collections to local, national and international audiences.
  • V&A for The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, London 
    This stunning gallery displays some 400 objects of exquisite beauty. This is one of the most extensive and renowned collections of Islamic art in the world.
  • Weston Park Museum, Sheffield
    Victorian treasure-house highlighting the best from Sheffield’s archaeology, natural and social history, visual and decorative art collections.
  • The Women's Library for the exhibition, ‘Prostitution:  What’s Going On?’ London Metropolitan University, London
    A provocative exhibition and events programme marking the centenary of the death of Josephine Butler, the Victorian social reformer and campaigner for the rights of prostituted women.

The Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries is given annually to one museum or gallery anywhere in the UK, and is open to a wide range of projects, both large and small. This year’s long list includes engaging art and design, exceptionally high-quality collections, and substantial specialist archive holdings, demonstrating the range of the Prize and the fact that it places as much emphasis on scholarship as on popular display.

Francine Stock, Chair of the 2007 judges comments:

‘This year’s long list shows great variety and contrast – from a textile study collection to a substantial metropolitan museum, from a dedicated library and a spectacular National museum exhibition to a stylish and enterprising arts centre – and we were hugely impressed by the way these entries seek to engage audiences. This is a truly inspiring long list and the next stage of our judging process will be a really tough challenge.’

The 2007 judging panel represents a wide range of artistic, scientific and academic interests and museum experience. With author and broadcaster Francine Stock as chair, it comprises:

  • Tristram Besterman - museum consultant, former director of Manchester Museum
  • Richard Calvocoressi – Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, Designate Head of the Henry Moore Foundation
  • Jonathan Glancey - The Guardian’s Architecture and Design Editor
  • Dr Mark Miodownik – materials scientist, head of the Materials Research Group at King's College London, Director of the Materials Library
  • Dan Snow - historian and broadcaster
  • Mohini Sule – cultural broadcaster for programmes including BBC Culture Show and The People’s Museum

The four short-listed museums for the 2007 prize will be announced in early April. The winner will be announced on Thursday 24 May at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London during Museum and Galleries Month 2007.
Six out of the 10 projects have been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), demonstrating how lottery funding is central to transforming the UK’s museums and galleries.

Last year’s winner was Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol, whose visitor figures have since increased by 40%. Brunel’s ss Great Britain has just been short-listed for the European Museum of the Year award. The winner of the first Gulbenkian Prize was the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law at the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham. In 2004, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art won the Gulbenkian Prize for Landform - part sculpture, part garden, part land-art - by Charles Jencks. In 2005, Big Pit: National Mining Museum of Wales, Blaenafon, won the Prize.

For further information, images and interviews, please contact:
Iliana Taliotis, Kate Wright-Morris or Liz Sich at Colman Getty
Telephone: 020 7631 2666
Out of hours: 07931 341 112

Notes to editors:

  • Paula Ridley, who is both Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK Branch and Chairman of the V&A, took no part in assessing applications for the Prize at any stage of the process.
  • The Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries is principally funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, whose Headquarters are in Lisbon. For 50 years the Foundation’s UK Branch has been a pioneering funder of developments in contemporary arts, education and social policy in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland and a leading agency in the promotion of Portuguese culture. The Arts Programme has traditionally played an active role in encouraging artists and arts organisations, including museums, to find original and inventive ways of developing their practice. It currently has two funding programmes, The Arts in Public Spaces and The Arts and Science.
  • Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian was an Armenian, who became a British citizen and conducted his business in London before finally settling in Portugal. His distinguished private collection of art and artefacts is housed in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, which is recognised as one of the best small museums in Europe. The tradition of collecting has been continued by the Foundation and the holdings of its Modern Art Centre include an extensive collection of modern British artworks.
  • The Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries is administered by the Museum Prize, a charitable company created in 2002 by The Art Fund, the Campaign for Museums, the Museums Association, and National Heritage.
  • The Prize is also supported by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), the national development agency working for and on behalf of museums, libraries and archives and advising government on policy and priorities for the sector.

Additional sponsorship and in-kind support provided by:

  • A Supporter of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
  • Blackwall Green (a member of the Heath Lambert Group)
  • Consensus Business Group
  • The Arbib Foundation
  • Event Communications
  • Lloyds TSB Private Banking
  • Endsleigh Insurance Brokers
  • Caixa Geral de Depositos
  • Farrer & Co
  • D&F Wines
  • 24 Hour Museum