European Museum of the Year Award and the Council of Europe Museum Prize celebrate 40th anniversary

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EMYA 2017 - Winners

The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA), organised by the European Museum Forum (EMF), was presented at the 2017 Award Ceremony held in Zagreb, Croatia, on 6 May 2017.

This year’s ceremony coincided with the 40th Anniversary of the European Museum of the Year Award and the Council of Europe Museum Prize, the longest running and most prestigious awards in Europe aiming to recognize excellence in European museums and to encourage innovative processes for the benefit of society

The Ceremony was attended by over 200 people from 29 European countries.

The results of the 2017 Awards are as follows:

The European Museum of the Year Award 2017 goes to MEG – Museum of Ethnography, Geneva, Switzerland. The museum received the EMYA trophy, The Egg by Henry Moore, which it will keep for one year.

This is an excellent example of a living museum and a multicultural story open to everybody. After more than one hundred years since its first opening, MEG has been able to successfully transform its mission and approach its audience in a new way. Indeed, the two main guidelines driving MEG are multiculturalism and an interdisciplinary approach. The museum’s enormous ethnographical collections from all over the world are almost completely accessible online and are displayed in the most unbiased way, letting the objects speak for themselves as much as possible.

Commitment to diversity leads MEG to continue ethnographical research worldwide, on the one hand, and to plan socially engaging museum programmes in collaboration with other institutions on the other.

The museum’s entire performance is based on the belief that the protection and safeguarding of cultural diversity and the heritage of different cultures must be transmitted to the broadest audience possible.


The Council of Europe Museum Prize and the accompanying trophy, La femme aux beaux seins by Joan Miró, goes to the Mémorial ACTe, Caribbean Centre of Expressions and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery, Guadeloupe, France.

Mémorial ACTe is unique in the European museum landscape both because it is located outside the usual boundaries of what we call Europe and because it has proved capable of extending the powerful and significant narrative of its subject matter to the present time, taking into consideration modern forms of slavery and human trafficking. Being a place of living memory, the museum tells the story of slavery and the slave trade in a mainly chronological frameset with the aim of helping to build a new society through remembrance.

Mémorial ACTe is a place where emotions play a strong part in the exhibit and dialogue through visitors merging the central narrative with the themes of resistance to racism, inequality and contemporary infringements of human rights with an often contextualized and scenographic display, an outstanding interdisciplinary approach is what integrates research and exhibits.


The Silletto Prize recognises excellence in working with the local community and involving volunteers.

It goes to the Leiria Museum, Leiria, Portugal.

Everyone involved in the project of the museum, from the mayor of the city, to the director, from the staff to the visitors, is strongly engaged with it: the care of the museum towards the public is forcefully reciprocated by the visitors who can participate in the visit experience at their leisure, without a redundant or overwhelming presence of technology and multimedia, as well as in the many social and socializing activities the museum offers.

Staff and volunteers work together; volunteers are managed and coordinated through an ad-hoc volunteering database run by city officers. The museum coordinates the programming of the city’s other heritage sites and is well integrated with the local community.


The Kenneth Hudson Award is given in recognition of the most unusual and daring achievement that challenges common perceptions of the role of museums in society.

It goes to Museum of the First President of Russia Boris Yeltsin, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

The Museum of the First President of Russia Boris Yeltsin boldly presents a significant period in the history of Russia. It covers the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the birth of the new Russia without trying to glorify that time or its protagonists. The dramatic story is thematically arranged around a central plaza, in seven areas each representing a critical day in the main story and in President Boris Yeltsin’s life. The exhibition is emotionally engaging, intense and makes use of multiple information channels.

The Yeltsin Museum raises questions and provokes debate around issues such as democracy, freedom and liberty of speech. It is both a memorial to a high calibre politician and a chronicle of the most dramatic period in living memory, which leads visitors to draw their own conclusions on Russian history.


Special Commendations

The following museums have received Special Commendations from EMYA 2017 Judging Panel:

The Special Commedation for Sustainability goes to Visitor Centre of the Swiss Ornithological Institute Sempach, Sempach, Switzerland

The centre has received the Jury’s Special Commendation for Sustainability for its innovative approach to raising public awareness of endangered species and for creating a highly sustainable building and environment for both birds and visitors.

Museum of Confluences, Lyon, France

As a contemporary landmark building the museum signals change, and with its approach to display and interpretation it weaves together natural and human sciences, nature and culture, mirroring its own name in its programme and exhibitions.

York Art Gallery, York, United Kingdom

The Gallery has been commended for revealing the beauty and splendour of a Victorian building, fostering an intense dialogue between contemporary and traditional art, shaping and delivering a strategy for encouraging visitors to acquire new knowledge and form ideas for responsible citizenship

Muzeum Śląskie, Katowice, Poland

The museum was commended by the EMYA Judges for its commitment to presenting and interpreting the dramatic history of the region, reflecting on the achievements and losses, aspirations and sorrows of generations of Silesians.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Heraklion, Greece

The EMYA Judges have praised this museum for presenting a cutting-edge interpretation of the history and civilisation of Crete, focused on the rise and decline of the Minoan culture. The museum has become a huge social and cultural asset for the island, influencing tourism and the economy, while also helping the local community to interiorize a positive perception of science and culture.

The Old Town. National Open-Air Museum of Urban History and Culture, Aarhus, Denmark

The EMYA Judges have highly appreciated the museum’s innovative strategy, which has resulted in the development of a new museum quarter, Daily Life in Welfare Denmark, focused on the post-war period, with 1974 as the pivotal year, and based on real stories and content shared by real people.

About EMF

Since 1997 European Museum Forum, founded by Kenneth Hudson, operates under the auspices of the Council of Europe and is one of the leading non-profit organization in Europe in developing the public quality of European museums, in collaboration with other international organizations, such as ICOM, NEMO and the Best in Heritage.

Even since the year of its foundation, forty years ago, the European Museum of the Year Award and the Council of Europe Museum Prize were launched: the longest running and most prestigious awards in Europe aim to recognize excellence in European museums and to encourage innovative processes for the benefit of society.

Further information about EMF and the EMYA scheme can be found on www.

About EMYA

The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) was founded in 1977 under the auspices of the Council of Europe, with the aim of recognising excellence in the European museum scene and encouraging innovative processes in a museum world which still took the more traditional view to focus exclusively on collections rather than on their use for the benefit of society.

Within the EMYA scheme all museums are equal whether public or private, small or large. Whatever their subject or their nationality, they are assessed on the basis of what is considered outstanding public quality.

EMYA has proved to be the longest running and most prestigious museum award in Europe and is an important occasion for promoting innovative approaches in the museum sector.


The European Museum of the Year Award
This award goes to a museum which contributes most directly to attracting audiences and satisfying its visitors with unique atmosphere, imaginative interpretation and presentation, a creative approach to education and social responsibility.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize
This prestigious prize is awarded based on the recommendations of the EMYA Judging Panel, by the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to a museum which puts particular emphasis on a clearly understandable presentation of a European perspective, showing initiative in presenting themes of European relevance and adherence to the key values and priorities of the Council of Europe.

The Kenneth Hudson Award
This is an award in honour of the founder of EMYA. The award goes to a museum, person, project or a group of people who have demonstrated the most unusual, daring and, perhaps, controversial achievement that challenges common perceptions of the role of museum in the society and carries forward the spirit of Kenneth Hudson. The Kenneth Hudson Award winner is chosen by the EMF Board of Trustees.

The Silletto Prize
This prize goes to a museum which has in the past two years demonstrated excellence in involving its local community in planning and developing museum and heritage projects or has attracted outstanding support from its work with volunteers with the goal to enhance the public quality of the museum.

Special Awards
A number of special awards are also given to museums that have developed a new and innovative aspect of their public service and from which other European museums can learn.

EMYA 40th Anniversary

How EMYA was established

The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) was set up in 1976 and the scheme was launched in 1977 by Kenneth Hudson and John Letts under the auspices of the Council of Europe, as a means of identifying and publicising outstanding new achievements and ideas within the museum field. Today it is run by the European Museum Forum which is registered as a charity in the United Kingdom.

From the beginning, its policy and activities have been controlled by an international committee of men and women influential and distinguished within the cultural life of Europe. The headquarters have been located in the United Kingdom (Bath, Bristol, Liverpool), in France (Paris) and currently in Italy (Milan).

Over the past 40 years the members of EMYA’s Judging Panel have visited about 2000 new and reorganised museums throughout Europe. As a consequence of this, experts from the EMYA network have accumulated a unique body of experience and have come to be regarded as a valuable source of information and impartial advice to various stakeholders.

In the course of time EMYA and the Council of Europe Museum Prize have shown consistent growth, in quantity and quality, thanks to the immense voluntary work of people from the network: Trustees, members of the Judging Panel, National Correspondents, partner organisations and the supporters.

On 3-6 May 2017 we shall be holding our annual Ceremony in Croatia. To celebrate our 40th anniversary, different museum venues will be hosting us so that we can reflect the richness and diversity of the museum sector. Join us in this celebration, meet the people who make it happen, and discover why EMYA is a leading model for promoting excellence in museums.

EMYA 2017 Nominees

Newly built Museums – Hubs of best practices

We are delighted to reveal the 46 nominees for the European Museum of the Year Award 2017:
the Judging Panel received applications from 24 member countries of the Council of Europe.

Muzeu Kombëtar i Fotografisë “Marubi”
“Marubi” National Museum of Photography
Shkodër, Albania

Train World
Schaarbeek, Belgium

Muzej Franjevačkog samostana Fojnica
Museum of the Franciscan monastery Fojnica
Fojnica, Bosnia and Hercegovina

Национална Галерия
National Gallery
Sofia, Bulgaria

Muzej Sinjske alke
The Museum of Alka of Sinj

Kongernes Jelling
Home of the Viking Kings
Jelling, Denmark

Den Gamle By. Danmarks Købstadmuseum
The Old Town. National Open-Air Museum of Urban History and Culture
Aarhus C, Denmark

RAGNAROCK – museet for pop, rock og ungdomskultur
RAGNAROCK – museum of pop, rock and youth culture
Roskilde, Denmark

Eesti Tervishoiu Muuseum
Estonian Health Care Museum

Päivälehden museo
Päivälehti Museum
Helsinki, Finland

Suomen maatalousmuseo Sarka
Sarka - The Finnish Musum of Agriculture
Loimaa, Finland

Serlachius Museums
Mänttä, Finland

Mémorial ACTe, Centre caribéen d’expressions et de mémoire de la traite et de l’esclavage
Mémorial ACTe, Caribbean Center of Expressions and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery
Guadeloupe, France

Musée de Pont-Aven
Pont-Aven Museum of Art
Pont-Aven, France

Musée des Confluences
Lyon, France

Musée national Picasso-Paris
Paris, France

Begas Haus – Museum für Kunst und Regionalgeschichte Heinsberg
Begas House – Heinsberg Museum of Art and Regional History
Heinsberg, Germany

Deutsches Fußballmuseum
German Football Museum
Dortmund, Germany

Europäisches Hansemuseum
European Hansemuseum
Lübeck, Germany

Festung Königstein
Königstein Fortress
Königstein, Germany

Römerbergwerk Meurin
The Roman Mine of Meurin
Kretz, Germany

Αρχαιολογικο Μουσειο Ηρακλειου
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Heraklion, Greece

GPO Witness History Visitor Centre
Dublin, Ireland

Messner Mountain Museum Corones
Pieve di Marebbe, Italy

Museo Archeologico Virtuale (MAV)
Virtual Archaeological Museum
Herculaneum (Naples, Italy)

Huis van Hilde Archeologiecentrum Provincie Noord-Holland
House of Hilde, Archaeological Centre of the Province of North Holland
Castricum, The Netherlands

Museumplein Limburg
Museum Square Limburg
Kerkrade, The Netherlands

Rindal Skimuseum; avdeling i Stiftelsen Nordmøre museum
Rindal Ski Museum, a division of Nordmøre Museum Foundation (regional museum)
Rindal, Norway

Muzeum Emigracji w Gdyni
Emigration Museum in Gdynia
Gdynia, Poland

Muzeum Toruńskiego Piernika, Oddział Muzeum Okręgowego w Toruniu
The Museum of Toruń Gingerbread, department of the District Museum in Toruń
Torun, Poland

Muzeum Śląskie in Katowice
Katowice, Poland

Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie
Royal Łazienki Museum
Warsaw, Poland

Museu do Dinheiro
Money Museum
Lisboa, Portugal

Museu de Leiria
Leiria Museum
Leiria, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Музейно-Творческий Кластер «Коломенский Посад»
Kolomna Old Merchant District Creative and Museum Cluster
Kolomna, Moscow Region, Russia

Музей первого президента России Б.Н. Ельцина
Museum of the First President of Russia Boris Yeltsin
Yekaterinburg, Russia

Jeremija – Srpski muzej hleba
Jeremija – The Serbian Museum of Bread

Muzej in Galerije Mesta Ljubljane - Plečnikova Hiša
Museum And Galleries of Ljubljana - Plečnik House
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Parque Etnográfico Pirámides de Güímar
Ethnographic Park Pyramids of Guimar
Tenerife, Spain

Tekniska museet
Swedish National Museum of Science & Technology
Stockholm, Sweden

MEG – Musée d’ethnographie de Genève
MEG – Museum of ethnography, Geneva
Geneva, Switzerland

Museum Burg Zug
Zug Castle Museum
Zug, Switzerland

Rathaus Sempach. Museum und Menschen
Sempach Town Hall: A Museum for and about People
Sempach, Switzerland

Besuchszentrum Schweizerische Vogelwarte Sempach
Visitor Centre Swiss Ornithological Institute Sempach

York Art Gallery
York, United Kingdom

All candidates are considered by the EMYA Judging Panel, which is an independent international expert body appointed by the EMF Board of Trustees. EMYA 2017 Judging Panel is chaired by Jose Gameiro, Portugal.

Nominated museums are expected to present themselves during the EMF Assembly and EMYA Ceremony 2017, which will take place from 3 to 6 May 2017 in Zagreb, Croatia.

Save the dates in May 3-6 to join us, do not miss the chance to attend the presentation of the EMYA 2017 candidates in Zagreb.