Belfast Telegraph

HMS Caroline is in running for £100,000 Museum of Year prize

HMS Caroline at Alexandra Dock beside in Belfast
HMS Caroline at Alexandra Dock beside in Belfast

By Staff Reporter

HMS Caroline has been shortlisted for the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year Award.

The recently restored Belfast-based ship, which saw service in the First World War, joins four other high-profile venues in the running for the accolade.

As the last remaining British light cruiser from the Great War and the Royal Navy's sole survivor from the Battle of Jutland, the largest sea battle of the conflict, HMS Caroline offers a unique insight into naval history, maritime warfare and the story of the Irish sailor.

After averting plans to scrap the vessel, an ambitious £20m project to rescue, conserve and restore her was completed in 2018.

The ship now offers an inclusive and accessible space at Alexandra Dock.

An innovative learning programme and an immersive introductory exhibition in the newly renovated Victorian pump house beside the ship brings HMS Caroline's long history and 90-year presence in Belfast alive.

The Art Fund prize champions what museums do, encourages more people to visit and gets to the heart of what makes a truly outstanding museum.

The judges present the prize to the museum or gallery that has shown how its achievements of the preceding year stand out, demonstrated what makes its work innovative and the impact it has had on audiences.

Also shortlisted are The Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford; V&A (Victoria & Albert) Dundee; St Fagan's National Museum of History, and Nottingham Contemporary.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Science Museum in London on Wednesday, July 3 and will receive £100,000 prize.

The other four shortlisted museums will each receive £10,000 in recognition of their achievements.

Speaking on behalf of the judges, Stephen Deuchar said: "Despite, or perhaps because of, the complex environment of our times, the UK's museums continue to challenge and inspire.

"The five shortlisted museums have each offered outstanding and different approaches to the vital task of engaging with the widest public in new and adventurous ways.

"We congratulate all those who are on the shortlist and encourage everyone to go and visit them."

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