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Manx National Heritage shortlisted twice for prestigious awards 27 March 2008

The long list of international awards given to developments by Manx National Heritage may soon be increased. TT

MNH has been shortlisted in two categories in the prestigious Museums and Heritage Awards, to be decided in London later this year at what is now generally regarded as the heritage event of the year.

Last summer’s temporary exhibition ‘Staying The Course’ held at the Manx Museum in Douglas is shortlisted in the ‘Temporary/Touring Exhibitions’ category. The all-island presentation of ‘The Story of Mann’ has been shortlisted in the ‘Classic Award’ category.

The classic award category is to celebrate a museums or heritage attractions which have been established for over ten years. The award is given for evidence of continued growth, development, community- relevance and visitor interest over the long term.

The Story of Mann is a perfect candidate for the award owing to its continued growth in quality, popularity and recognised international success. The judges of the short-list have been impressed by how The Story of Mann concept brings together the Island’s historic, natural and cultural assets under one banner, emphasising the value of the multidisciplinary approach which MNH takes to the preservation, protection and presentation of the Island’s rich heritage assets.

The Story of Mann concept has been studied as a potential model for several countries in Europe and has received a number of awards since its inception in the early 1990s, including being the first organization to win the British Museum of the Year Award twice.

Through three five-year strategic programmes, MNH has grown and developed the strategy, most recently ensuring that public ownership of precious sites such as Rushen Abbey, the Sound and Niarbyl is guaranteed for the future. New heritage sites made available to the public, together with regular updates and modernization of existing museums, galleries and services has provided a linked and themed heritage portrayal throughout the whole Island. MNH now operates 13 sites under the Story of Mann banner, one of which, the House of Manannan in Peel, won the Isle of Man “visitor attraction of the year” award last year. Most recently a new Viking gallery has been opened at the Manx Museum.

‘Staying The Course’ was the Island’s major centenary TT exhibition in 2007. It occupied the whole of the national art gallery at the Manx Museum and presented the largest collection of historic TT material ever brought together in one exhibition. It celebrated the people who have made the TT and brought together historic motorbikes, leathers, souvenirs and archive footage. The exhibition took 18 months to put together and broke records by attracting nearly 100,000 visitors to the Manx Museum during its seven month run, including TT fans from as far afield as New Zealand, Japan and South Africa.

Curator of Social History Matthew Richardson worked on the ‘Staying the Course’ project and commented:

“We received a tremendous amount of positive feedback whilst the exhibition was in place so we knew the exhibition had struck a chord with visitors. The fact that people were queuing to get in at one point also suggested that we had found a winning formula. I think we succeeded in capturing something quite elusive which is the community atmosphere of the TT, and the judges have recognised this. But we are up against some stiff competition, including the famous “Terracotta Warriors” exhibition at the British Museum. We’ll have to wait and see!”

For further information on the Museums and Heritage Awards, please contact Matthew Richardson on 01624 648000.

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