Page last updated at 20:02 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:02 UK

Wedgwood wins 100,000 art prize

The Wedgwood Musuem
The Wedgwood Museum also won the People's Choice vote

A museum dedicated to Wedgwood, the world-famous pottery company, has won the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries.

The prize was announced by film-maker David Puttnam, at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

The judges said they were "bowled over" by the "extraordinary" Wedgwood Museum, which is in Stoke-on-Trent.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum; Ruthin Craft Centre, and the Orleans House Gallery were also shortlisted.

The judges, who included artist Grayson Perry, praised the way the Wedgwood Museum used its world-renowned collection to take visitors on a 250-year tour of British social, design and industrial history, while remaining embedded in the local community.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham
Ruthin Craft Centre, Denbighshire
Wedgwood Museum, Stoke-on-Trent

Lord Puttnam, who chaired the panel, said: "This Museum is extraordinary for so many reasons and we were all but unanimous in our decision.

"The Wedgwood Museum brilliantly highlights the marriage of art, design, manufacturing and commerce; a marriage that resonates more today than at possibly any time in the intervening years.

"In every respect it fully meets our criteria of what a 21st century museum should aspire to be."

It was the first year the public had been able to have their say in choosing the winner, via the People's Choice poll.

Over 27,000 people voted on the Guardian website, also choosing the Wedgwood Museum as their clear winner.

Silver bowl

Last week it was revealed an investigation had begun into alleged voting irregularities in the poll, but the Guardian later verified the voting was correct.

Andrew Macdonald, acting director of The Art Fund, said: "The Wedgwood Museum... is a richly deserving winner of this Prize, and its victory could not have come at a better time for the area, after all the uncertainty there has been over the future of the factory which still operates alongside the museum."

In addition to the cheque for £100,000, the Wedgwood Museum will also receive the Art Fund Prize Bowl, enamelled in silver by the craftsman Vladimir Bohm, which they can display for one year.

Last year's winner was The Lightbox museum and gallery in Woking. Previous winners of the award - formerly known as the Gulbenkian Prize - include Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2007); and Brunel's ss Great Britain, Bristol (2006).

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