We are a finalist!

MOTY15_Digital Assets_Oxford Natural History_All sizes-01

This is very exciting. We’ve been waiting to tell everybody for some weeks that we have been selected as one of six finalists in the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015. It’s the top prize for a museum or gallery in the UK and we are delighted that the Museum’s work over 2014 has been recognised to this extent.

The other finalists are Dunham Massey, IWM London, The MAC, HM Tower of London, and The Whitworth. The winner will be announced on 1 July at a ceremony at Tate Modern and will receive £100,000. To drum up the excitement we made a short film with Art Fund as part of the award campaign:

As regular readers of this blog and our previous Darked not dormant blog will know, the Museum undertook a major roof restoration and lighting project during 2014. And while we were closed we spent some time thinking about how we communicate with our visitors and the world beyond, trying out some fun forms of public engagement such as the Goes to Town project (shortlisted for a Museums + Heritage Award).

Photographer Martin Parr's lead image from a shoot at the Museum
Photographer Martin Parr’s lead image from a shoot at the Museum

At the same time our whale skeletons underwent a major conservation and redisplay, documented at Once in a Whale. In other words, 2013 and 2014 were big years for the Museum and it’s wonderful to be celebrating them as Finalists in the Art Fund Prize competition. As our director Paul Smith says:

Our public programme encourages visitors of all ages to understand and engage with the natural environment, and sits alongside our world-class research and teaching.

The museum’s small team and our volunteers are delighted that this transformation has led to being named as a finalist in the prestigious Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015.

Keep an eye on the blog next week and you’ll see more about Martin Parr‘s photography of the Museum, as well as a photography competition that you can enter yourself, judged by Martin and the public. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of Martin Parr at work here, capturing the image you can see above.

Martin Parr captures the lead image in the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015 campaign
Martin Parr captures the lead image in the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015 campaign

Scott Billings – Public engagement officer

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