A FLAGSHIP North-East attraction which has undergone a £7m revamp is in the running to be named as the UK’s top museum.
Preston Park Museum in Eaglescliffe, near Stockton, has been announced as one of ten finalists in the prestigious Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2013.
Also in the running for the top prize is the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.
The accolade is the largest arts prize in the UK celebrates the very best museums and galleries, rewarding innovation and creativity in bringing collections to life.
Councillor Ken Dixon, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture at Stockton Council, which runs the museum, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Preston Park – especially in its diamond jubilee year. Preston Park has a special place in many people’s hearts and it has been a delight to see residents and visitors alike enjoy what it has to offer since it reopened.
“The £7m transformation has seen the museum become a first-class visitor attraction, bringing the Borough’s rich heritage to life.”
As well as the £100,000 for Museum of the Year, the attractions are also in the running for the Clore Award for Learning, an additional £10,000 award which recognises achievements in learning programmes in the museum.
Both winners will be drawn from the ten main finalists, which include the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Horniman Museum in London, and will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row show from the award ceremony at the V&A Museum in London on June 4.
Previous winners have included the British Museum in London and the National Mining Museum of Wales.
Preston Park is set in parkland alongside the River Tees and features a recreated Victorian street with interactive displays, brought to life by volunteers.
It also features collections ranging from fine art to weaponry, and others celebrating the area’s industrial and social heritage.
The Grade II-listed building reopened last year after its refurbishment and so far 108,000 visitors have been through the doors, despite only about 70,000 having been expected.
All information about Museum of the Year 2013 and the Clore Award for Learning can be found at artfund.org/prize.
The shortlist for the Art Fund Prize is: Preston Park Museum, Stockton-on-Tees BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead The Beaney, Canterbury Dulwich Picture Gallery, London The Hepworth, Wakefield Horniman Museum & Gardens, London Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, Cambridge Narberth Museum, Wales William Morris Gallery, London