A BOURNEMOUTH museum has been shortlisted in the coveted Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence.

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum was one of more than 350 nominations for the prestigious Culture Pros Pick Award, which will be presented to the UK’s most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction.

It was one of just five venues to be shortlisted in the category and the public will now vote for the institution they feel most engages with audiences and visitors.

In addition, the innovative exhibition In Our Own Words: Soldiers’ Thoughts from Afghanistan, staged in 2013, has been shortlisted in the Project on a Limited Budget category.

The exhibition brought together work by Second World War artists in the museum’s collections with the Diary Room by contemporary official war artist, Derek Eland.

The artist, himself a former paratrooper, was embedded in Afghanistan with the 16 Air Assault Brigade where he asked servicemen and women to write down their feelings, hopes and fears about life in camp, living with the daily threat of being wounded or killed on patrol and missing family and friends.

Some 400 cards were hand-written by troops on the frontline from The Irish Guards, the Royal Irish Regiment and the Parachute Regiment, with the Diary Room visited by more than 20,800 people during the exhibition.

Councillor Lawrence Williams, portfolio-holder for tourism, leisure and culture, said: “I am delighted that the team at the Russell-Cotes has been recognised for their excellent work; their contribution to the town and its visitors is outstanding.”

The winners of the 2013-2014 awards, run in association with the Guardian Cultural Professionals Network, will be announced next month.