William Morris Gallery crowned British museum of year

LONDON Tue Jun 4, 2013 2:49pm EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - An art gallery devoted to the Victorian designer and socialist William Morris was crowned Britain's museum of the year by the Art Fund on Tuesday.

The William Morris Gallery, located in the artist's family home in Walthamstow in northeast London, opened in 1950 but faced closure in 2007 before securing funding for a major redevelopment. It reopened last year.

The gallery displays the life and work of Morris, a radical Victorian textile designer, craftsman, writer, and political activist who died in 1896 aged 62.

The gallery was one of 10 museums and galleries on the shortlist for the annual prize awarded by the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art.

"Its extraordinary collections, beautifully presented, draw the visitor engagingly through Morris's life and work and through the building itself," said a statement from the panel of six judges deciding the 100,000 pound ($150,000) prize.

Last year's winner was Exeter's 144-year-old Royal Albert Memorial Museum which underwent a 24 million pound refurbishment to better display its collection of more than a million objects ranging from medieval coins to modern art.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; editing by Mike Collett-White)

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