Prestigious “European Museum of the Year Awards” announced

These prehistoric skeletons of a mammoth and giant deer are part of the award winning Naturalis museum.Image: Henk Caspers/Naturalis Biodiversity Center (CC BY-SA 3.0/cropped)

On 6 May, the European Museum Forum announced the 2020 and 2021 European Museum of the Year Awards (EMYA) winners. The main prizes of the EMYA were won by the Dutch natural biodiversity museum Naturalis (2021) and the Swiss Stapferhaus museum (2020) for their excellence in all aspects of museum work, so-called “public quality.”

Besides the leading award, the European Museum Forum handed out prizes in five other categories, which focus on specific aspects of museum work. The prize ceremony took place in the Yeltsin Center in Russia as an online event, a European Museum Forum press release stated. All 88 nominees were virtually present at the event, but only 12 would end up with a prize.

Categories and winners

The Council of Europe Museum Prize has a particular focus on the underpinning values of democracy and human rights. The Gulag History Museum in Moscow (2021) and The National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves” in Albania (2020) emerged as winners.

The Kenneth Hudson Award goes to the museum, which is the most courageous in exploring what a museum can achieve. The bravest of the bunch turned out the be the CosmoCaixa from Barcelona (2021) and the House of Austrian History in Vienna (2020). Check out the video below to learn more about the most recent winner of the Kenneth Hudson Award. (Text continues below video)

The Silletto Prize is awarded to museums that excel at engaging their communities and volunteers. The Kenan Yavuz Ethnography Museum in Turkey (2021) and 14 Henrietta Street in Ireland (2020) were regarded as the most engaging museums out of all the nominees.

The Portimão Museum prize goes to a museum that makes everyone feel welcome and belong, regardless of their background. The Gruuthusemuseum in Belgium (2021) and the MO Museum in Lithuania (2020) were the most inclusive picks. (Text continues below image)

The “friendly” facade of the award winning Gruuthusemuseum in Brugges, Belgium. Image: Wolfgang Staudt/Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

The Meyvaert Museum Prize is conferred on museums that have made an exceptional contribution to sustainability. The Museum Walserhaus Gurin in Switzerland (2021) and the Wadden Sea Centre in Denmark (2020) came out as the “greenest” museums.

While the winners for 2020 and 2021 were only announced days ago, the European Museum Forum is already looking forward to 2022. Recently, they extended the deadline to submit nominees for the upcoming EMYA till the 31 May. You can check out the call here.

Source: European Museum Forum

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