Two Greater Manchester Museums are competing for the title of Museum of the Year 2015.

The newly refurbished Whitworth and the National Trust’s Dunham Massey will be up against The Tower of London, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Imperial War Museum and Belfast’s The MAC for the £100,000 pound prize.

The winner will be announced at the Tate Modern on 1 July. An international judging panel will be called on to determine the winner, including Fiammetta Rocco, books and arts editor of The Economist, and Axel Ruger, director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

It was won last year by the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Dunham Massey’s Sanctuary from the Trenches exhibition frecreated the Stamford Military Hospital as it had been in 1917-19, using artefacts and furniture from the house’s own archive. Working in partnership with Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, actors were brought in to tell real stories of wartime experiences at the hospital. 

The Whitworth meanwhile opened earlier this year following a widely-acclaimed redevelopment project by MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight Architects) that reconnected the gallery to its surrounding Whitworth Park and the surrounding area.

Director of the Whitworth, Maria Balshaw, said: “When we reopened the Whitworth on 14 February we asked visitors to ‘Fall in Love Again’ with the Whitworth. With 130,000 visitors in two months we have exceeded all our hopes for our new building.

“Architects MUMA have delivered a thoughtful and sensitive expansion of our gallery that connects us to our park and to new and more diverse audiences. Our period of closure allowed us to develop programmes and partnerships that have taken the gallery to people we would have never reached: from locals at Moss Side Asda, to the crowds at Manchester’s best pubs, to city centre shoppers at Selfridges.”


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