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European Museum of the Year Award 2018


The Judging Panel of the European Museum of the Year Award held its meeting from 16th to 18th November in Warsaw, Poland, to determine the nominations for the European Museum of the Year Award 2018 (EMYA).

We are delighted to announce the museums nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award 2018.

The announcement of the winners and the formal EMYA Award Ceremony will take place during the Annual Assembly of the European Museum Forum, from 9 to 12 May 2018 in Warsaw, Poland, in the POLIN - Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which was awarded with the European Museum of the Year Award in 2016.

Registration for the event is now open and more details can be found on the EMYA2018 Official website www.emya2018.eu.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize 2018

The 2018 Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded to the War Childhood Museum, Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The museum was selected by the Culture Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at a meeting in Budapest today.

This is the official announcement:


"According to the rapporteur on the Museum Prize, Adele Gambaro (Italy, FDG), the museum is a truly inspiring example of a grassroots initiative led by a charismatic young person, Jasminko Halilovic, who was himself a child during the four-year war siege of Sarajevo. As part of his own "healing process", in 2010 he launched a short questionnaire on the internet and collected over 1,000 replies, which were initially edited in a book and later presented in this museum. Through powerful personal stories and objects associated with each story, this museum advocates peace, reconciliation and the value of cultural diversity.

The museum, which is deliberately apolitical, aims to fill in an existing gap in documenting war experiences from the child's perspective and therefore expands its research and collection across Bosnia and Herzegovina, among diaspora living abroad and also globally, in co-operation with associations in Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. The judging panel praised the museum's "real potential to serve as a powerful self-sustained model of civic initiative" and said it offered an example that could be replicated in other major conflict and post-conflict zones in the world.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded annually since 1977 to a museum judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding of European cultural heritage. The winning museum will be presented with a bronze statuette, "La femme aux beaux seins" by Joan Miró, which the museum will keep for a year, together with a diploma.

The prize is decided on the basis of three proposals presented by a jury of the European Museum Forum, and forms part of the European Museum of the Year Awards.


EMYA2017 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.

megThis 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.

macteMémorial 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.

'Mémorial ACTe, Caribbean Center of Expressions and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery' wins the 2017 Council of Europe Museum Prize

The Council of Europe Museum Prize for 2017 has been awarded to the Mémorial ACTe (MACTe), Caribbean Center of Expressions and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery in Guadeloupe (France).

The prize is decided on the basis of a shortlist presented by the Panel of Judges of the European Museum Forum, and forms part of the European Museum of the Year Award.

The museum was selected by the Culture Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at a meeting in Paris today, Friday 9 December.

mactevisitors macte_low

According to the rapporteur on the Museum Prize, Adele Gambaro (Italy, ALDE), this “outstanding, stunning and innovative museum fits precisely with the Council of Europe criteria. Initially conceived as a memorial, the museum has become not only a living, dynamic place for memory of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery (connecting Africa, the Americas and Europe), but also a commemoration of the resilience of human beings. It promotes tolerance and opens up in a creative way perspectives for the future.

The judging panel praised the founding principles of the museum, whose role is to make the act of remembrance a means of producing a new society, with the goal of providing intellectual tools for the fight against the social and societal consequences of slavery such as racism, social exclusion, inequality and contemporary forms of infringement of human rights. Its interdisciplinary approach includes recruiting and training local staff in order to create a sense of belonging and ownership in the very disadvantaged neighbourhood of Carénage. Late opening hours also make it into a lively centre for living arts and a meeting place for the local population.



Newly built Museums – Hubs of best practices

2017 is a special year for the European Museum Forum: we are going to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the European Museum of the Year Award!

The 40th EMYA will take place from 3 to 6 May 2017 in Zagreb, Croatia.

We are glad to express our gratitude to the Croatian Ministry of Culture who helped us solving the unexpected change of venue, previously announced.

We will welcome many partner organisations to the Ethnographic Museum, Mimara Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Arts and Crafts, Gallery Klovićevi Dvori and many other museums in the city of Zagreb.

This milestone in the history of our network, the 40 years of activities, is organized together with Croatian Ministry of Culture, the Council of Europe that will join the celebration and support the event, the City of Zagreb.

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 and to take part in our 40th anniversary celebration.


The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) and the Council of Europe Museum Prize were launched in 1977, by the European Museum Forum – founded by Kenneth Hudson, under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Since then - and in collaboration with other international organizations, such as ICOM, NEMO and the Best in Heritage – the award scheme aims to recognize excellence in European museums and to encourage innovative processes for the benefit of society.

Numerous participants come together every year from across all of Europe, meeting to discuss points of view, themes and issues that affect museums. During the EMYA ceremony, the European Museum Forum offers workshops, panels, interviews with museums candidates and a range of social gatherings and informal exchange with experts who explore what matters in museums today.

An extraordinary experience that gives a brilliant overview on the European museum scene!

ICOM Endowment Fund and European Museum Forum agreement

ICOM Endowment Fund and European Museum Forum have signed the cooperation agreement for the next three years on 8th July 2016.

ICOM’s President Hans Martin Hinz and EMF Chair of the Board of Trustees Goranka Horjan signed the document at the General Conference in Milan.

The cooperation between ICOM and EMF has been continuing and is in line with the strategic plans of both organisations. By enhancing its international profile ICOM is encouraging agreements with museum associations while networking has been one of the priorities of the European Museum Forum in the last few years.

ICOM Endowment Fund has been established to support museum activities and various projects in line with the mission and vision of the organisation and the EMYA scheme, run by European Museum Forum, has a long and firm reputation of promoting excellence in the museum sector.