More Than 1,000 Votes Flood In For Gulbenkian Prize People's Choice

By Graham Spicer | 28 February 2007
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photograph of a museum gallery with screen interactives and a model of two young polar bears

Weston Park Museum had 120,000 visitors in its first three months of reopening. © Sheffield Museums Trust

The voting for the 2007 Readers' Poll for the Gulbenkian Prize is now closed

Votes have been flooding into the 24 Hour Museum’s People’s Vote for who you think should win the prestigious Gulbenkian Prize for Museums and Galleries.

More than 1000 readers have already cast their votes for who they would choose to win the £100,000 annual award from the longlist of 10 venues across the country.

“This extremely impressive number of votes shows the Gulbenkian is going from strength to strength and really capturing the public’s imagination,” said 24 Hour Museum Editor Jon Pratty.

“It’s great to see that people are really enthusiastic about their local museums and galleries. Our People’s Vote, though unofficial, allows ordinary visitors the opportunity to register their opinions and support their favourite venue.”

From the total of 1,183 submissions, Weston Park Museum in Sheffield has emerged as a clear favourite, with 373 votes to date. Its recent refurbishment has been warmly welcomed by local residents, 120,000 of whom have visited in its first three months of reopening smashing visitor targets for its first year nine months ahead of schedule.

image of fabric sample in a museum

The Warner Archive commissioned major artists to design fabrics - this sample is by Graham Sutherland. Courtesy Braintree District Museum Trust

There is still plenty of time for others to catch up, however, as the People’s Vote doesn’t end until May 23 2007 - the day before the announcement of the Prize itself.

Along with the votes, we’ve had a wealth of comments from people praising their local venues’ initiatives.

Voter Adrienne Thornton was a big fan of Weston Park: “A truly brilliant museum. Weston Park Museum ticks all the boxes. Welcoming, entertaining, inclusive, educational and exciting!”

Second placed so far is the Warner Archive at Braintree District Museum in Essex, which has picked up an impressive 256 votes.

“Braintree has worked so hard to preserve some culture in the face of commercial growth and traffic!” wrote Mrs Bernie Ross.

Photo of a little girl pressing herself against a glass aquarium pointing at a fish

The Horniman's aquarium provides authentic habitats for more than 150 species of aquatic life. © Laura Mtungwazi

Third place currently goes to the Horniman Museum’s aquarium in south London. Its £1.5m transformation helped solve access problems and has already proved a highly popular free attraction.

“Considering what has just been announced in the news with children in England unhappy, neglected and poorly educated this is a place where the children are encouraged to be happy, cared for and educated,” wrote Anna Morris. “The Horniman has my vote and deserves to win.”

Next up is the Women’s Library in London with 95 votes, closely followed by Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion and Scotland and Medicine, a project linking medical collections across Scotland, both on 93 votes.

The rest of the longlisted museums are hot on their tails, and as mentioned, with almost three months of voting left, the race is still wide open.

While the Gulbenkian Prize judges will announce their official shortlist of four venues in April you can vote for any of the longlisted museums right up until the eve of the Prize’s announcement. So get voting…

Click on one of the links below to vote for the longlisted museum you think should receive the £100,000 prize.

To vote for Braintree District Museum in Essex, click here.

To vote for Horniman Museum

in London, click here.

To vote for Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

in Glasgow, click here.

To vote for Kew Palace

in Surrey, click here.

To vote for Pallant House Gallery

in West Sussex, click here.

To vote for Scotland & Medicine

in Edinburgh, click here.

To vote for The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art

at the V&A in London, click here

To vote for Weston Park Museum

in Sheffield, click here

To vote for The Women's Library

in London click here
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