(Above) A supporter at Belfast's Ulster Museum lobbies for your ballot in the Art Fund Prize. Voting closes tonight
Art and history fans across the country have until the end of the day to cast their final votes for the four institutions bidding to win this year’s £100,000 Art Fund Prize.
The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry and the Ulster Museum in Belfast are hoping to secure the prestigious annual award when the winner is announced on June 30. The online vote closes at 5pm this evening.
“It will only take people a few seconds to vote, but it really could make the difference between whether we win £100,000 or not,” said Steve Miller, Chief Executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, which is responsible for the Victorian Town.
“We are incredibly proud that our museum has made it to the final four and delighted by the support already given by people from all over the world. To actually go on and win would be amazing.”
The Ulster Museum was the only Northern Irish representative on the 10-venue longlist, having reopened in October 2009.
“We hope that the hundreds of thousands of visitors who have enjoyed their experience of the museum will get involved and help us in our pursuit of this award,” said Dr Jim McGreevy, Director of Collections and Interpretation for National Museums Northern Ireland.
"It is a most prestigious accolade and to win it would be a huge accomplishment for the Ulster Museum and indeed, for Northern Ireland.”
The new-look Ashmolean has already won the RIBA Award for architectural design, and is hoping to add to its tally.
The new £61 million Ashmolean Museum in Oxford
“This is a very exciting stage of the competition and it is a great honour for the Ashmolean to be selected,” said Director Christopher Brown, who issued a manifesto-style pledge in between thanking supporters for their votes.
“As the public’s first museum, we will continue to open our doors to the widest possible audience to ensure their inspiration, enjoyment and access to the Ashmolean’s remarkable collections now and in the future.”
Coventry’s Herbert has won a torrent of praise since opening at the end of 2008 after a £20 million rebuild.
“I am both surprised and delighted that the judges should consider us worthy of inclusion on the shortlist amongst such brilliant company,” said Chief Executive Ludo Keston.
“We are a new organisation, less than two years old, and could not be more pleased for the people of our city that Coventry has been singled out for this shortlist.
“This is a real testament to all the work that went into the redevelopment. The vision of the developers has ensured Coventry's commitment to the future of culture and the arts."
Vote online for your favourite.