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   Press release

Long List 2008

These are the ten museum and gallery projects chosen by our judges to form the long list for 2008 The Art Fund Prize.


‘Breaking the Chains’, The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum, Bristol
Breaking the Chains commemorates the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade. This powerful and memorable exhibition, which is open until October 2008, demonstrates the essential humanity of those enslaved by the transatlantic trade and uses authentic artefacts, film, music, photography, video and personal testimonies to provide visitors with a multi-sensory experience.  


‘Sacred – Discover What We Share’, the British Library, London
Sacred, an exhibition at the British Library in 2007, brought the world's greatest collection of Jewish, Christian and Islamic holy texts together side by side for the first time. The exhibition was visited by over 200,000 people of all faiths and none. Sacred demonstrated how these three faiths have co-existed and influenced one another, and through their interaction, shaped much of European civilisation and culture.  


International Slavery Museum, Liverpool
The first phase of the International Slavery Museum, opened in August 2007, tells the largely hidden story of the exploitation of Africa and Africans within the transatlantic slave trade. This story is not only of disaster, but of the remarkable survival of African cultures. The powerful and moving displays explore issues such as freedom, identity, human rights, racism and cultural change, which are relevant to Britain and the rest of the world today.  


The Lightbox gallery and museum, Woking
The Lightbox was initiated by local people and developed over seven years with strong community involvement. Housed in a stunning new contemporary building, The Lightbox combines an innovative approach to presenting local history with an exciting programme of exhibitions, including contemporary art from local and nationally famous artists. it is a friendly, lively and inspiring place to spend time, to think, to discover and to have fun.  


London Transport Museum, London
London Transport Museum, one of the capital’s most iconic cultural attractions, reopened in November 2007 following a £22 million transformation. Lively new exhibitions explore transport and the growth of modern London, culture and society. Visitors can shelter on the Tube during the war, discover the world’s first underground railway and explore what it might be like to live in London 50 years from now based on the choices we make today.  


‘Helmand: The Soldiers' Story’, National Army Museum, London
This unique exhibition explores the British army’s first campaign in Afghanistan’s Taleban heartland, Helmand Province, from the perspective of the ordinary soldier. It was created by soldiers and the team at the NAM using the written accounts, photographs and oral histories of over a hundred members of the 16 Air Assault Brigade. The result is an honest and moving account that throws light on this ongoing and intense conflict.  


The Pier Arts Centre, Orkney
The Pier Arts Centre houses a remarkable collection of 20th century British art, including works by Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, and hosts a programme of contemporary exhibitions, and educational and outreach events. It re-opened in 2007 after a two-year project to refurbish, connect and extend its historic harbour-side home and pier, through the addition of a striking new gallery. The renewed Centre, its Collection and its charming setting combine to offer a distinct and rewarding experience.  


Shetland Museum and Archives
Set within a restored 19th century dock, the Shetland Museum and Archives tells the fascinating story of Britain’s most northerly group of islands - from its geological beginnings to the present day. Managed by the Shetland Amenity Trust, this major new cultural centre also contains a state-of-the-art archives, harbour front restaurant and dramatic three storey boat hall.  


Topsham Museum River Gallery Project, Topsham Museum, Exeter
Housed in a 17th-century building overlooking the Exe Estuary, and entirely run by volunteers, Topsham museum celebrates the local history and ecology of Topsham and the Exe Estuary. The River Gallery Project has provided a new gallery to house recently-acquired, historic River Exe boats, together with augmented displays throughout the museum. An excellent example of a high quality, professional project achieved by a voluntary museum.  


Wellcome Collection, London
This groundbreaking new space is devoted to exploring the connections between medicine, life and art. Over 1,500 exhibits, spanning six centuries, shine light on the past, present and future of medicine and contemplate our changing relationship with our bodies. Where else would you find objects as disparate as a used guillotine blade from the French Revolution, a robot used in the Human Genome Project, a Marc Quinn sculpture and a gastrointestinal camera the size of a
baked bean?  


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