The National Museum of Scotland, the Holburne Museum in Bath, Bolton Museum and the designers of a children’s museum in Cairo were among those celebrating at the Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence last night.
The redeveloped National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Holburne Museum and Art Gallery were announced as joint winners of the Permanent Exhibition Award for 2011.
The United Exhibits Group at Bolton Museum and Mallinson Architects & Engineers were also joint winners of the International Award.
Mallinson Architects were presented with the award for their thoughtful and ambitious presentation of Egyptian history and its relevance, both past and future, at the Children's Centre for Civilization and Creativity, while the enterprising Bolton Group took Egyptian artefacts on tour to Taiwan.
Project architect for the Cairo project, Michael Mallinson, said: "You cannot imagine what this award means to the people involved. The project has succeeded against so many odds, surviving political change to emerge triumphant."
Winners were announced by comedienne Sue Perkins before an audience of museums and heritage professionals in the grand staterooms of 8 Northumberland Avenue, London.
The winner of the Temporary or Touring Exhibition Award was the Natural History Museum for Sexual Nature, a highly successful and brave venture to reach new audiences.
The Marketing award went to a highly successful and innovative campaign on a small budget by the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham for their temporary summer exhibition on art and tennis, Court on Canvas.
The 2011 Classic Award, for a project that has developed over at least ten years, went to a "true classic", Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, while Historic Royal Palaces won many hearts as well as the Educational Initiative Award for the 'All the King’s Fools' re-enactment project at Hampton Court Palace.
Unusually but most fittingly, the award for Outstanding Contribution was made to an organisation this year, rather than an individual – the Heritage Lottery Fund. Trustees Cathy Gee and Virginia Tandy accepted the award on behalf of the HLF.
Other winners were:
- Innovation: the Grant Museum of Zoology for their ground-breaking QRator visitor participation project.
- Project on a Limited Budget: The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke for 'Once upon a Time'.
- Restoration or Conservation: Friends of Windmill Gardens, London for the restoration of Brixton Windmill.
- Sustainability (a new award for 2012 – sponsored by PLB): (Joint winners) National Museums Liverpool for the Museum of Liverpool and the Garden Museum, Lambeth, London for the Championing Sustainability in Heritage traineeship programme.
- Winstan Bond Trophy for the Entrepreneurial Attraction/Museum of the Year (supported by the Association of Independent Museums): Dundee Heritage Trust for their temporary exhibition 'From Carriers to Coffins: Jute in the 21st Century'.
Of tens of thousands of online votes for museums all over the country, the M&H Online Readers’ Award went to the much-loved Haslemere Museum in Surrey.
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Full details, including commendations, will be posted shortly at: www.museumsandheritage.com/awards.