I am delighted with the announcement that two of Edinburgh’s most iconic museums, the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Museum of Scotland, have been long listed for the Museum of the Year title through the prestigious Art Fund Prize 2012.
Ten museums across the UK are in the running for the honour, which carries a prize value of £100,000. The Art Fund plays a crucial role in developing the range and quality of British art, whilst promoting the sector and encouraging public participation.
I offered my support by lodging a parliamentary motion welcoming the news. It cannot be underestimated how significant it is for our capital city to have two museums listed and without a doubt it is testament to their hard work. Edinburgh has long been considered a cultural centre of excellence, home to a wide array of visual arts and the nominations clearly enhance our international standing.
The Art Fund recognises both originality and distinction in art. Both museums have undergone multi-million pound transformations, with the re-opening of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in December 2011 and the re-development of the National Museum. Millions of visitors – locals and tourists alike – have passed through their doors; exploring the world of fine art, innovation, science, technology and culture.
I would like to take the opportunity to once again congratulate both museums on their achievements and I would like to offer my best wishes ahead of the shortlist announcement on 14 May and the final decision on 19 June.