The Oxford Story Museum is among the five-strong shortlist for Art Fund’s museum of the year prize.

The immersive museum is competing for the world’s largest museum prize alongside People’s History Museum Manchester and Ty Pawb in Wrexham.

The Museum of Making in Derby and London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens complete the list.

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The Story Museum offers a unique immersive experience for its visitors. Children and families can explore different galleries dedicated to stories ideas from going on a bear hunt or even going on the bus.

Oxford Mail: David Gibb, stands amongst the story telling trees. Picture by: David FlemingDavid Gibb, stands amongst the story telling trees. Picture by: David Fleming

For the Story Museum this is a huge achievement, and museum director and CEO Caroline Jones feels the triumph of making it into the top five shows the determination of the museum’s staff.

She said: “I’m so proud of all our team members who have helped to make The Story Museum more than just a fairy tale, meaning generations of visitors from Oxford and beyond will be able to experience the enduring power of stories to teach and delight.

“Like all the best yarns, our own story has had many twists and turns, including having to postpone our grand reopening no less than three times due to Covid19. This nomination is testament to the perseverance and determination of our staff to bring our most unusual museum to life.”

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In October 2020, the Story Museum on Pembroke Street reopened after a £6 million renovation.

Oxford Mail: Reopening of the Galleries at The Story Museum

Over the first lockdown the galleries of the museum were reimagined into spaces including a ‘whispering wood’.

Organisers for Art Fund’s museum of the year prize said the nominees reflect the “creativity and resilience” of museums and their focus on “engaging the next generation of audiences in innovative ways.”

Oxford Mail: A bedtime story installation at The Story Museum Picture: Andrew Walmsley

Art Fund director Jenny Waldman said: “An abundance of applications to be Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022 shows the creativity and resilience of museums right around the country, despite the immense challenges of the last two years.

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“The five superb finalists are all museums on a mission who are tackling the vital issues of today – from combating the climate emergency to improving literacy or exploring migration – and reaching diverse communities as they do so.

“Each is working hard to encourage the next generation to get involved, both to inspire them and to equip them with essential skills.”

The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony at The Design Museum in London on July 14 and will receive £100,000.

The other nominees will each be given £15,000.

Last year, Firstsite in Colchester, Essex was crowned museum of the year.

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