A record number of votes have been counted: the results of Museums at Night's Connect10 competition are in
Two weeks of canvassing and cajoling have drawn to a close in the Museums at Night elections. 62,000 people voted, with the margins of victory as thin as a ballot paper in some Connect10 constituencies.
Just 22 votes separated the victorious Wilson, in Cheltenham, from the National Coal Mining Museum for England, where organisers were pipped by half a percent in the race for Fred Deakin, the multi-talented artist who was once half of Brit Award nominees Lemon Jelly.
Less than one percent of the vote decided the destiny of Jessica Voorsanger, the karaoke-promising artist on offer for a song to one of four venues. Voorsanger had professed her love for them all, but 20-21 Visual Arts, in Scunthorpe, beat Tullie House, in Carlisle, by 28 votes.
Both the hosts and their star guest will be enjoying repeat successes. Curators in the Lincolnshire town thrilled visitors with a cinematic evening featuring farcical boxing last year, while Voorsanger’s husband – Bob and Roberta Smith – was behind a highly entertaining evening for Museums at Night two years ago.
Grayson Perry scored a date at Buckingham Palace to pick up his CBE last week, but three London attractions lost out in pursuit of the potter this May.
Instead, he’ll be deliberating on what to wear for a night in York, where the Yorkshire Museum received the competition’s highest number of votes – nearly 5,500. The Courtauld Gallery, which missed out by a narrow five percent, would have had enough votes to win any of the polls except Perry’s.
Arguably the most high-profile ballot was the racy race for Spencer Tunick. Strange Cargo, whose planners persuaded supporters to ditch their clothes for a naked show of support this week, will need their banners (‘I’m Ready for Spencer’) again after a skinny win.
Brighton Museums and the Jerwood Gallery, who both laid on shivery demonstrations but narrowly missed out, will have their bravery rewarded – they join all the unlucky venues in receiving funds to help plan their Museums at Night events.
Amy Sharrocks, the artist who has previously floated the idea of swimming across London, had sagely advised the venues vying for her visit to take a well-earned rest.
The creator of the Museum of Water will set sail for Swansea Museum - winning the scrummage with a little help from former Wales international rugby star Scott Quinnell - for an event taking inspiration from the famous local dog, Swansea Jack, who rescued residents when they fell into the local dock during the 1930s.
Market Hall Museum, in Warwick, enlisted two deer and a dog in their animal-friendly chase for Alex Hartley – no stranger to wildlife aboard his Nowhereisland. Approaching 5,000 votes, their tails will be up after seeing off spirited campaigns from venues including the Towneley Hall in Burnley.
Elsewhere, nearly 3,000 voters have given world-renowned photographer Rankin a mandate to make them look beautiful at St Ann's Allotments in Nottingham, while it’s a fine home win for the National Football Museum in Manchester, who have spent much of the January transfer window setting their sights on securing the services of Universal Everything marvel Matt Pyke.
Last year’s Art Fund Museum of the Year, the William Morris Gallery in London, had to count on the best part of 2,500 votes in winning a masterclass from the remarkable Mr Smith's Letter Press.
And there’s another victory for Wales, where interactive storyteller Janette Parris will take actors, comedians, ventriloquists and puppets to The Cardiff Story Museum.
Market Hall Museum, Warwick 4,784 votes (55.04%)
Towneley Hall, Burnley 3,277 (37.7%)
Berwick Gymnasium Gallery 443 (5.1%)
Surgeons’ Hall Museum, Edinburgh 188 (2.16%)
Swansea Museum 656 votes (44.18%)
Gallery Oldham 399 votes (26.87%)
Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston 308 votes (20.74%)
Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster 122 votes (8.22%)
The Wilson (Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum) 1,436 votes (31.4%)
National Coal Mining Museum for England, Wakefield 1,414 (30.92%)
Castle Drogo, Exeter 1,271 (27.79%)
The Observatory Science Centre, Hailsham 452 (9.88%)
Yorkshire Museum, York 5,442 votes (47.75%)
Courtauld Gallery, London 4,788 (42.01%)
Freud Museum, London 703 (6.17%)
Museum of Soho, London 465 (4.08%)
The Cardiff Story 1,640 votes (37.24%)
Weston Park Museum, Sheffield 1,290 (29.29%)
People's History Museum, Manchester 1,076 (24.43%)
New Art Gallery, Walsall 398 (9.04%)
20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe 1,508 votes (40.67%)
Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle 1,480 (39.91%)
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent 538 (14.51%)
Haworth Art Gallery, Accrington 182 (4.91%)
National Football Museum, Manchester 1,608 votes (37.87%)
Brunel's ss Great Britain, Bristol 1,211 (28.52%)
Museum of London (1,063 (25.04%)
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh 364 (8.57%)
Mr Smith’s Letterpress
William Morris Gallery, London 2,405 votes (38.41%)
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, London 1,715 (27.39%)
Denbighshire Archives and Ruthin Gaol Museum, Ruthin 1,504 (24.02%)
The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, Leeds 638 (10.19%)
St Ann's Allotments, Nottingham 2,955 votes (39.66%)
Bethlem Archives and Museum, Beckenham 2,091 (28.06%)
The Holburne Museum and No. 1 Royal Crescent, Bath 1,959 (26.29%)
Phoenix Gallery, Brighton 446 (5.99%)
Georges House Gallery, Folkestone 3,736 votes (38.2%)
Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton 3,187 (32.59%)
Jerwood Gallery, Hastings 2,856 (29.21%)