Tower of London announced as finalist for Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015
The Tower of London, which is cared for by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, has been shortlisted following an unparalleled year for the visitor attraction which saw over 5 million people visit the art installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ in the Tower’s moat.
The visually magnificent display of 888,246 ceramic poppies by the artist Paul Cummins and installation designer Tom Piper encircled the Tower, marking the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, each poppy planted by one of thousands of volunteers and each representing a British and Colonial life fatality. The installation served not only as a poignant visual reminder of lives lost during the war but also enabled the Tower to engage in a learning and engagement programme exploring the theme of remembrance which reached over 1 million people and raised as well as raising millions of pounds for six service charities.
Michael Day, Chief Executive of Historic Royal Palaces, said:
“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award. 2014 was an extraordinary year for us as we marked the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
As well as opening a new display exploring the stories of the Tower of London during the war and hosting a successful learning initiative on the importance of remembrance, Historic Royal Palaces worked with the artist Paul Cummins and installation designer Tom Piper to create a stunning display of 888,246 ceramic poppies in the Tower’s moat that truly captured the imagination of people not only nationally but globally.
Over the last 1,000 years the Tower of London has been at the heart of our history and to be able to reach out to new audiences of all generations at such a significant time was remarkable.”
The Tower of London has dominated the City of London for the last millennium and is still one of the capital’s most prominent landmarks as well as a world-famous visitor attraction. Throughout its long history, the Tower has served as a royal palace and fortress, prison and place of execution, an arsenal, royal mint, menagerie and jewel house. Today, London’s great royal fortress is home to some of the most potent symbols of British history: the Yeoman Warders, ravens and Crown Jewels. Yet there is far more to discover within the historic walls and through an engaging learning and events programme reaching out to audiences of all ages and by opening new spaces and exhibits, the Tower strives to help everybody explore the stories of how monarchs and people have shaped society in one of the greatest palaces ever built.
The announcement of the 2015 winner will be made at an awards dinner at Tate Modern on Wednesday 1 July 2015.
Other finalists for the hotly contested award are:
Dunham Massey (National Trust) Altrincham, IWM London, The MAC Belfast, Oxford University Museum of Natural History and The Whitworth, Manchester.
Full information about the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015 can be found at artfund.org/prize. Follow the conversation on #museumoftheyear
Notes to editors
Images of the Tower of London are available to download for free to accompany editorial through our image library.
For further information and interviews please contact the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 3166 6302.
The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art, driven by the belief that everyone should have access to great art. In the past five years the Art Fund has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections. The Art Fund also helps museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, including ARTIST ROOMS and the 2013-18 Aspire tour of Tate’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows by John Constable, and makes additional grants to support the training and professional development of curators.
The Art Fund is independently funded, with the core its income provided by 117,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and enjoy free entry to over 230 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibition. In addition to grant-giving, the Art Fund’s support for museums includes the annual Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year, a publications programme and a range of digital platforms.
Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle. We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk