Eclectic list of museums and galleries bid for rich prize

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The Independent Online

Exhibitions ranging from Islamic art to prostitution are in the running for Britain's biggest arts award, the £100,000 Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries.

A long-list for the annual prize includes the new Jameel Gallery dedicated to Islamic art at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the current programme of events at the Women's Library, London, marking the centenary of the death of Josephine Butler, the Victorian campaigner for the rights of prostitutes.

But the list also includes projects and institutions as diverse as the controversial £35m refurbishment of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow and a textiles archive housed in the original 19th-century mill where they were created in Braintree, Essex. The Warner archive is second only to the V&A's in its field.

Francine Stock, the author and broadcaster who is chair of this year's judges, said: "This year's long-list shows great variety and contrast and we were hugely impressed by the way these entries seek to engage audiences. This is a truly inspiring long-list and the next stage of our judging process will be a really tough challenge."

The judges, who include the historian Dan Snow and Richard Calvocoressi of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, now pay official and unofficial visits to the 10 institutions which have been whittled down from 50 submissions. The other candidates include the De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, an example of Modernist architecture which has been re-launched as an arts centre, and another stunning building, Pallant House in Chichester, West Sussex, a Grade I-listed Queen Anne house which houses a world-class collection of 20th-century British art and re-opened last year after an £8.6m refurbishment.

A Victorian treasure house, Weston Park in Sheffield, which underwent a £19m redevelopment to re-open in October, is another contender. It houses the city's collections of archaeology, natural and social history, visual and decorative arts. At the grander end of the scale comes the restoration of King George III's country retreat, Britain's smallest royal palace and part of the Historic Royal Palaces at Kew.

The Horniman Museum in south-east London made it to the list with its new £1.5m aquarium, which has attracted more than 110,000 visitors since opening in July. The Horniman was one of the earliest museums to showcase living collections and the aquarium replaced one which was the first in Britain to be free to the public when it opened in 1903.

Janet Vitmayer, its director, said they were thrilled to be listed. " The Gulbenkian nomination is recognition for all the hard work the team put in to building and developing the aquarium."

The final nominee is Scotland and Medicine, a partnership of institutions across Scotland bringing together specimens, models ,surgical instruments and art works telling the story of how medical developments have changed lives. It is based on the collections of the royal medical colleges. A shortlist of four will be announced in April and the winner revealed on 24 May.

THE GULBENKIAN LONG-LIST

Braintree District Museum for the Warner Textile Archive

A record of the manufacture and design of textiles over 200 years.

De La Warr Pavilion for its re-launch, Bexhill-on-Sea

One of the world's finest examples of Modernist architecture.

Horniman Museum for its new aquarium, London

An innovative display aimed at younger visitors.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum for its New Century Project, Glasgow

A £35m project to restore Glasgow's civic art gallery and museum.

The Women's Library for the exhibition, Prostitution: What's Going On?, London Metropolitan University

An exhibition marking the centenary of the death of Josephine Butler, the Victorian social reformer.

Kew Palace, Historic Royal Palaces, Surrey

Restoration of UK's smallest palace.

Pallant House, Chichester

Queen Anne townhouse housing 20th-century art collection.

Scotland & Medicine: Collections & Connections, Edinburgh

Tells the story of how medicine has changed our lives.

The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Renowned collection of Islamic art.

Weston Park Museum, Sheffield

A Victorian treasure-house highlighting Sheffield's archaeology, visual and decorative art collections.

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