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A tiny London museum has been shortlisted for Museum of the Year

Chris Waywell

A unique London museum is one of five UK institutions shortlisted for Museum of the Year 2016, and one of just two in London. The Bethlem Museum of the Mind at the Bethlem Hospital is up against such internationally famous venues as Bristol’s Arnolfini and the mighty V&A in South Kensington. Its inclusion on the shortlist is a tribute to this pioneering gallery, which is attached to the Britain’s oldest psychiatric hospital, founded in 1247.

Opened by Grayson Perry in March 2015, the Museum of the Mind has seen standout shows by the likes of bizarre Victorian painter (and Bethlem patient) Richard Dadd, and its collection offers an amazing insight into the history and treatment of mental illness. The World Health Organization predicts that mental illness will be the world’s greatest medical burden by 2030, so it’s good to know that we have such a great resource to draw on (plus it’s in leafy, calming Beckenham).

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