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Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales celebrates Gulbenkian success

Today (10 February 2006), the National Waterfront Museum was longlisted for the prestigious Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year. The Museum, which opened its doors to the public in October 2005, is one of only ten museums across the whole of the UK to be included on the longlist.

The competition – won last year by Amgueddfa Cymru–National Museum Wales's Big Pit National Coal Museum – is a £100,000 prize, which recognises and stimulates originality, imagination and excellence in museums and galleries in the UK, and increases public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer. This week's announcement has delighted Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Director General, Michael Houlihan:

“Being placed on the Gulbenkian Prize list again this year is a great achievement. It undoubtedly shows that the National Waterfront Museum has grasped imaginations across the UK, and the whole organisation is delighted and excited about the Museum's success.”

Wales's latest national museum tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales through the eyes of the people of Wales – and the world – through the ages. Officially opened by Rugby legend Gareth Edwards and Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Rt Hon. Rhodri Morgan in October 2005, the Museum has already attracted over 60,000 visitors.

The National Waterfront Museum is a museum that reflects the busy lifestyles of the 21st century – it's place to enjoy whether you've got twenty minutes or three hours. It is the first museum to be designed with the free entry policy in mind, making it accessible for visitors, however long – or short – their visit.

Commenting on the announcement, Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, Alun Pugh, said:

"This is a great honour for the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, especially as it has only been open since last October and follows hot on the heels of last year's success by Big Pit National Coal Museum. Reaching the longlist of this prestigious award confirms our belief that the National Waterfront Museum is a world class attraction and a landmark project that conveys the major impact Wales has made on the world."

The Museum is a partnership between Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and The City and County of Swansea. The National Waterfront Museum was designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and the new galleries were developed by Land Design Studio in close cooperation with the team from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. The interactive displays were developed by Land Design Studio in conjunction with New Angle.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is the new name for the National Museums & Galleries of Wales, which operates seven national museums across Wales. These are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

Entry to all the museums is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact Sian James on 029 2057 3185 / 07970 016058.

The Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year is administered by The Museum Prize, a charitable company created in 2001 by representatives of National Heritage, the Museums Association, the National Art Collections Fund and the Campaign for Museums. These organisations agreed to put aside award schemes they formerly ran (including the National Heritage Museum of the Year) and lend their support to the prize. The Museum Prize is chaired by Lady Cobham. Trustees of The Museum Prize include representatives of all four founding organisations.

The Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year is funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The UK Branch of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is responsible for grant aid in the UK and Republic of Ireland and runs funding programmes in arts, social welfare, education and Anglo-Portuguese cultural relations.