Two County Durham museums make shortlist for national award

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, which was held at The Bowes Museum.
Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, which was held at The Bowes Museum.
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Two County Durham museums are celebrating making the shortlist for a prestigious national award.

Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt, which was held at Durham University’s Palace Green Library, and Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, which was held at The Bowes Museum, attracted more than 100,000 visitors between them and gained world-wide attention.

The Durham copy of the 1216 Magna Carta.

The Durham copy of the 1216 Magna Carta.

Both have been shortlisted in the Best Temporary or Touring Exhibition category in the Museums and Heritage Awards.

Dr Keith Bartlett, director of culture for the university said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious accolade.

"Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt proved very popular with visitors from across the UK and the wider world, and showed that culture can bring real benefits to Durham.”

Joanna Hashagen, The Bowes Museum’s keeper of fashion and textiles, said: “It was a privilege to stage the first UK retrospective for Yves Saint Laurent at The Bowes Museum and to work with the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent in Paris.

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, which was held at The Bowes Museum

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal, which was held at The Bowes Museum

"Pierre Bergé himself was extremely proud of the way we presented the exhibition. A highlight was when respected critic Waldemar Januszczak said in the Sunday Times: 'It’s brilliant stuff, brilliantly curated ... the best fashion exhibition I have ever seen.’”

Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt featured the only surviving 1216 issue of the charter, on loan from Durham Cathedral, and used it as a starting point for exploring the history of rebellion, revolt and citizenship.

It was exhibited alongside objects from Durham University’s collections and loans from other regional and national museums and libraries. These included the Bosworth Crucifix, from the Society of Antiquaries of London, gloves worn by Charles I to his execution, from Lambeth Palace Library, and, from the Parliamentary Archives, London, the trial record of Charles I, the 1689 Draft Declaration of Rights, and the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal was the first retrospective of the designer’s work to be held in the UK and was curated in collaboration with the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent. It was an audacious ambition, to bring Yves Saint Laurent to a northern market town instead of the capital.

Broadcaster Jeremy Vine viewing the 1216 copy of the Magna Carta at Durham.

Broadcaster Jeremy Vine viewing the 1216 copy of the Magna Carta at Durham.

The Museums & Heritage Awards are an annual event hosted by the Museums & Heritage Show and winners are selected by a panel of expert judges. The awards ceremony will take place in May, at a black tie ceremony in London, hosted by comedian Marcus Brigstocke.