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Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Ups and Downs of museum development

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Museum and heritage development projects are a bit like roller coasters. There are ups and there are downs.

One minute you’re nervously awaiting a decision – the next you have your arms thrust in the air, screaming with excitement. And at the end of the process, while proud of your achievements, you wonder what all the fuss was about.

Nowhere is this analogy more relevant right now than in the Kent town of Margate, where plans are presently in progress to redevelop the site of an old theme park and turn it into a museum and heritage site.

Dreamland Margate will be the home of the nation’s first roller coaster and theme park museum, if you like. A with a roller coaster almost 100 years-old and a long and respected tradition of entertaining families by the seaside.

The town is on a high after the success of Turner Contemporary, which opened there last year.

But, alas, they are in a spot of bother at the moment as the people who own the land on which the site sits are contesting a compulsory purchase order. It’s going through a local inquiry now and they’ll know more in the summer, but in the meantime there’s a piece all about it on Museum [Insider], of course. For the moment though, this ride isn’t going anywhere.

I’m due to make a visit to Margate later this year, so see the Turner Contemporary again and to check out more of the towns, er, delights. I’ll report back on what I’ve found!

Art Fund Prize long list announced

In Awards, Museums on February 8, 2012 at 11:22 am

It that time of year again when everyone awards themselve a prize! From the Oscars to the museum community.

The longlist for the 2012 Art Fund Prize has been announced – ten museums and galleries from across Britain which are all up for a prize of £100,000.

Bletchley Park – for their exhibition on Alan Turing
The Hepworth Wakefield – a brand new museum designed by David Chipperfield
The Holbourne Museum – a new extension on the back of this beautiful museum in Bath. Isaw it in September and loved it.
MShed – a new museum in Bristol. I ran a training day for the text writers on this project.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery – recently reopened after a major redevelopment – looking great.
National Museum of Scotland – ditto.
Riverside Museum – I visited this new museum last year and was more impressed with the building than the collection.
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery – not been down for a nosy at this project, but would love to go see it. I hear it’s fab.
Turner Contemporary – a wonderful new gallery (also by Chipperfield) to which I am set to make a repeat visit.
Watts Gallery – another multimillion pound refurb. Must go see it.

I’m not sure what exactly the judges are looking for this year – the judges change each year so it’s hard to compare one winner with another. But my bets are on for one of the new art galleries designed by Chipperfield – either the Turner Contemporary or the Hepworth Wakefield.

You can vote for your favourite project by going to the Art Fund website and choosing one of the ten.

Let’s wait and see who makes the short list …