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Exeter museum wins museum of the year award
9:58am Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Devon
Exeter’S Royal Albert Memorial Museum has been named as the winner of the 2012 Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries The museum, which reopened to the public on December 15, 2011, following a £24 million transformation, nabbed the £100,000 award for its originality and excellence.
Chair of Judges, Lord Smith of Finsbury, said of the museum: “The new Royal Albert Memorial Museum is quite simply a magical place, modest in scale but vast in its ambition and imagination.
“The Victorian aspirations to bring the world to Exeter are stunningly realised through some of the most intelligently considered displays on view in any museum in the UK. Every exhibit delights with a new surprise, and provokes with a new question, and at a time when local authority museums in particular are in such danger, this brilliant achievement proves how daring, adventurous and important such institutions can be.”
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum staved off competition from three other shortlisted museums to win the coveted prize.
Founded in 1868 and established in memory of Queen Victoria’s husband, the museum has amassed over a million objects in a wide array of fields, from gemstones and taxidermy to medieval coins and modern art. The new museum offers a dramatically reinterpreted display of the museum’s collection, one which both reveals a range stories about the local region and the wider world, and the history and character of this unique museum itself.
Exeter Council Leader, Pete Edwards, said: “We are over the moon at winning the Art Fund Prize. RAMM’s redevelopment has been a labour of love and shows what can be done when popular support is backed by the local council and aided by central government and the HLF. Together we’ve taken a great museum, made it even better, and now with your help we’ve really put RAMM on the map.”
He continued: “This is an honour for the people of Exeter, Devon and the Southwest and I hope also a source of inspiration for all the far flung parts of Britain that like us have the ambition and drive to compete with the best. Exeter has a long and rich history which is well recorded in RAMM. It’s great that today it’s the museum that is making history.”
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