Stockton museum and gardens in the running for top national accolade

Preston Park Museum could be named UK's best

TAKING A LOOK: Visitors study some of the revamped displays at Preston Park

AWARDS FINALIST: The Baltic arts centre, in Gateshead

BACK IN TIME: Victorian re-enactors at Preston Park

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

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

Comments (1)

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1:36am Wed 3 Apr 13

Dstsurfer says...

The museum has always been very good. I live nearby and visit it regularly. in my opinion it's hard to see where 7m has been spent. I think much has been spent on infrastructure of the building and health and safety and some unimpressive "designer" garden features, There doesn't appear to have any maintenance carried out on the many paths and walks in the grounds. These are widely used but have been allowed to fall in to a state of disrepair. The wet weather over the winter has turned much of them into a swampy mess and are much in need of attention.
I also feel that the borough is missing a trick on funding opportunities. There is not enough opportunity to spend any cash in the museum and the cafe in the grounds is rarely open. The number of people, you meet desperate to spend some cash on a coffee after walking there dogs etc, is unbelievable. it's time SBC got there act together and recognise the wastes oportunities for making this great museum and grounds even better
The museum has always been very good. I live nearby and visit it regularly. in my opinion it's hard to see where 7m has been spent. I think much has been spent on infrastructure of the building and health and safety and some unimpressive "designer" garden features, There doesn't appear to have any maintenance carried out on the many paths and walks in the grounds. These are widely used but have been allowed to fall in to a state of disrepair. The wet weather over the winter has turned much of them into a swampy mess and are much in need of attention. I also feel that the borough is missing a trick on funding opportunities. There is not enough opportunity to spend any cash in the museum and the cafe in the grounds is rarely open. The number of people, you meet desperate to spend some cash on a coffee after walking there dogs etc, is unbelievable. it's time SBC got there act together and recognise the wastes oportunities for making this great museum and grounds even better Dstsurfer
  • Score: 3

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