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Brooklands in the race for top award!

01 May 2018

World’s first motor racing circuit nominated for world’s biggest museum award

We are honoured and thrilled at being announced as a finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018, the biggest museum prize in the world.

Supported by Art Fund, the £100,000 prize is designed to get to the heart of what makes a truly outstanding museum, seeking out innovation and exceptional achievement in museums and galleries all across the UK, and working to encourage more people to visit. The winning museum will be announced before an invited audience of leading figures from the fields of culture and museums, on Thursday 5th July 2018 at the V&A Museum in London.

Brooklands’ nomination marks the culmination of one of the Museum’s most important periods in its 27 year history, with a spectacular transformation of the site in 2017 delivering extraordinary new exhibitions that tell the story of one of the most important sites in British motorsport, aviation and engineering.

The other finalists for 2018 are Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; Glasgow Women’s Library; The Postal Museum, London and Tate St. Ives. The judges tasked with selecting the winner are: Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group; Rebecca Jones, BBC arts correspondent; Melanie Manchot, artist; and Monisha Shah, independent media consultant and Art Fund trustee. The judging panel will be chaired by Stephen Deuchar, director, Art Fund.

In 2017, Brooklands unveiled three outstanding projects: The Brooklands Aircraft Factory, the Flight Shed and the restoration of it historic Finishing Straight. The Brooklands Aircraft Factory, housed in a restored WWII aircraft hangar, takes visitors on an immersive journey on to the factory floor of 80 years of aircraft design, testing and manufacture. From those early pioneers through to the supersonic flight of Concorde, a timeline of aviation development is depicted through the component parts of what goes together to make an aircraft fly. On leaving the Factory, the journey continues into the Flight Shed, where a fleet of complete Brooklands Aircraft are lined up, as if ready to take off. Cockpit access to a Hawker Hunter and two-seater Harrier Jump Jet gives young and not-so-young would-be pilots the opportunity to sit at the controls. Alongside the new and restored buildings, the restoration of the Finishing Straight of the original racing circuit has enabled pre-war cars and motorbikes to run up and down this section of track for the first time since 1939, allowing visitors to imagine the track during the heyday of pre-war motor racing.

With learning at their heart, the new exhibitions aim to inspire school children and students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through the stories of the men and women who worked at Brooklands throughout the 20th century. New workshops will be the home of an Aviation Heritage Skills course, so that the ability to restore and conserve historic aircraft can be passed on to a new generation.

Tamalie Newbery, Brooklands Museum’s Director and CEO said “We’re thrilled that the Museum’s incredible work in 2017 has been recognised by the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 and its panel of distinguished judges. We can now tell the extraordinary history of this very special place in ways we’ve never been able to before. Our nomination for this prestigious award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team here, not least our 800 volunteers who do so much to give our visitors a warm welcome.”

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund said “Each one of these five finalist museums for the £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 prize has had an exceptional year. They are the engines of cultural development in this country – centres of innovation and pioneering new ways of engaging with the public. They represent the height of creativity and ambition – whether through the collections they display, the means by which they engage audiences or how they address the issues of the moment. I would encourage everyone to go and experience them at first hand.”

@artfund #museumoftheyear artfund.org/museum-of-the-year

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