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Manx National Heritage Win Major International Award 12 May 2008

Director of MNH receives the Classic AwardManx National Heritage (MNH) has won another major international award for its work in developing The Story of Mann at heritage sites around the Island.

At a ceremony in Westminster, London, on Wednesday 7th May, MNH won the main award of the evening – “The Classic Award” in the annual Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence. MNH beat off stiff competition from major organizations and projects from Britain, including the National Museums of England and Scotland, the National Trust, the National Science Museum and the new £45 million pound development of the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden.

The award to MNH was presented by journalist and broadcaster Simon Calder at what is now generally regarded as the heritage event of the year with several hundred industry guests attending.

The Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence provide an opportunity for the wide range of heritage professionals and services to come together to celebrate examples of excellence in the field and the most inspiring new ideas and developments. Celebrating best practice within museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions, over a hundred entrants were in competition to win one of this year’s prestigious awards.

The ‘Classic Award’ won by MNH Chairman of MNH, Martin Moore, commented:

“This is a very welcome acknowledgement of the pioneering work which has been undertaken by MNH over a number of years to provide the Isle of Man with one of the most respected national heritage services in Europe. This could not have been achieved without the high level of professionalism and creativity of the MNH staff and the solid support of the Manx Government and the Manx public.”

Director of MNH, Stephen Harrison said:

“I think the judges considered that we had undertaken a unique range of challenges to bring together and improve so many different kinds of heritage sites, museum developments, and areas of historic countryside all around the Island and that we had built something that provided added value to the community year on year.
From four or five sites a few years ago, MNH now operates 13 staffed sites around the Island and, since we entered the new Millennium, visitor figures have increased by 50% to over 480,000.
This is one of the major awards for the heritage profession and we were up against a number of major British organizations, including some of the UK’s most famous National Museums and the National Trust.
This is the twelfth award MNH has won in recent years and I am sure it will help to ensure that the Isle of Man maintains its reputation as a European leader in the field of cultural heritage management and presentation.”

The judges of the competition, which is accompanied by one of the largest trade shows for the museum and heritage industry, said:

“The Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence provide an unparalleled opportunity to celebrate the wealth of expertise and innovation in this industry. They spotlight the exceptional work that goes into creating world-class museums and visitor attractions, providing international recognition to the winners. Winning entries demonstrate something extra – true excellence!”

The judges considered that The Story of Mann was a perfect candidate for the award owing to its continued growth in quality, popularity and recognised international success. They were 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 involving the public in the all-embracing approach which MNH takes to the preservation, protection and presentation of the Island’s heritage assets.

MNH almost scooped another award on the night. The TT Centenary Exhibition “Staying the Course” which proved so popular with the public in 2007 received a highly commended award from the judges and was only just beaten to the main award in the temporary exhibition category by the multi-million pound Chinese Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the British Museum.

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