Ulster museum in competition final
The Ulster Museum is in with a shot of being named the best in Europe.
The recently refurbished building has reached the final of the prestigious European Museum of the Year competition, an achievement which follows a string of successes for the museum including the 2010 Art Fund Prize.
The winner of the European title will be announced at a ceremony in Germany on May 21.
Tim Cooke, director of National Museums Northern Ireland, said: "It is great for Northern Ireland as a whole that the judges have placed the Ulster Museum on the final list.
"Once again it means that we are being recognised across Europe for excellent presentation of our rich cultural assets.
"It helps people across Europe think in a different way about Belfast and what we have to offer - and hopefully assists the efforts being made to attract more visitors."
More than 800,000 visitors have been to the Ulster Museum since it re-opened at the end of October 2009.
The award is run by the European Museum Forum under the auspices of the Council of Europe.
Other finalists include museums from Russia, Germany, Spain, Austria, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey and Great Britain.
The winner will be considered by the judges to be the museum which contributes most directly to attracting audiences and satisfying its visitors with unique atmosphere, imaginative interpretation and presentation, a creative approach to education and social responsibility.