Winners of the European Museum of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2021 Announced

Sunday, May 9, 2021
Winners of the European Museum of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2021 Announced

The European Museum Forum has announced the winners of the European Museum of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2021. The winners in different categories under the EMYA scheme were presented at the online ceremony on 6 May 2021, bringing together members of the EMYA community including candidates, partners and friends.

The European Museum Forum has announced the winners of the European Museum of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2021. The winners in different categories under the EMYA scheme were presented at the online ceremony on 6 May 2021, bringing together members of the EMYA community including candidates, partners and friends.

Organised by the EMF and hosted by the Yeltsin Center, Russia, winner of the Kenneth Hudson Prize for 2017, the EMYA 2020 and 2021 Award Ceremony took place as a public, online event with all the 88 nominated museums participating (61 for EMYA2020 and 27 for EMYA2021).

The different awards within the EMYA scheme reflect different aspects of the values of EMF. The main award is given to museums which achieve excellence in all aspects of museum work – in ‘public quality’.

The European Museum Forum expresses its gratitude to the museums who kept faith with EMYA in applying and in welcoming the judges in the unusual circumstances of Covid-19. Special thanks go to our sponsors and partners for their continuous support for EMF through these difficult years.

 

MAIN AWARD – THE EMYA

The European Museum of the Year Award goes to a museum which contributes most directly to attracting audiences and satisfying its visitors with a unique atmosphere, imaginative interpretation and presentation, a creative approach to education and social responsibility. In other words, the award is presented to the museum which achieves the highest level of what the founder of EMYA called “public quality".

 

The European Museum of the Year 2020 - Stapferhaus, Lenzburg, Switzerland

The main award for 2020 goes to a museum which asks difficult questions, explores big ideas, and fosters a culture of debate. They choose themes based not on a collection but on rigorous research about what is important to their community, themes which most museums would not dream of addressing. Through its innovative, creative, and future-oriented approach, it offers a model for the museum as laboratory for the art of living – as all museums should be.

 

The European Museum of the Year 2021 - Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, Netherlands

Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, Netherlands

The winner of the European Museum of the Year 2021 main award is one of the largest museums of its kind, with impressive research record and diverse collections that focus on topics with universal appeal. It is not only an organisation with a long history but also with an agile ability to get transformed. It is a very resourceful museum with beautiful exhibitions and a multitude of public services and events. As such, it is a very popular museum that engages visitors with compelling ways and invites us to feel strong emotions about the world that connects us all and reflect on how we can protect its beauty, preserve its biodiversity and be informed and responsible citizens regarding climate change.

THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE MUSEUM PRIZE

The Council of Europe Museum Prize is awarded, based on the recommendations of the EMYA jury, 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 European perspectives and the interplay between local and European identities, on a commitment to and presentation of key values of democracy, human rights, inter-cultural dialogue, of bridging cultures and overcoming social and political borders.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize 2020 - The National Museum of Secret Surveillance "House of Leaves", Tirana, Albania

The Council of Europe Museum Prize 2021 - GULAG History Museum, Moscow, Russian Federation

 

THE KENNETH HUDSON PRIZE

The Kenneth Hudson Award honours the spirit of the founder of EMYA, and 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 and responsibility of museums in society. The winner is chosen by the EMF Board of Trustees, and is not necessarily selected from the pool of the EMYA candidates.

 

The Kenneth Hudson Prize 2020 - House of Austrian History, Vienna, Austria

The Kenneth Hudson Prize 2021 - CosmoCaixa, Barcelona, Spain

 

THE SILLETTO PRIZE

The Silletto Prize is sponsored by the Silletto Trust and goes to a museum which has demonstrated excellence in involving its local community in planning, developing and running 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.

 

The Silletto Prize 2020 - 14 Henrietta Street, Dublin, Ireland

The Silletto Prize 2021 - Kenan Yavuz Ethnography Museum, Beşpınar, Turkey

 

THE PORTIMAO MUSEUM PRIZE - EUROPE’S MOST WELCOMING NEW MUSEUM

Introduced for the first time in 2019, the Portimão Museum Prize is sponsored by the Municipality of Portimão and celebrates a friendly atmosphere of welcome, where all visitors, regardless of their background, feel they belong in the museum. All elements of the museum – its human qualities and physical environment - contribute to the feeling of welcome, as do events and activities in and around the museum.

The Portimão Museum Prize 2020 - MO Museum, Vilnius, Lithuania

The Portimão Museum Prize 2021 - Gruuthusemuseum in Brugges, Belgium

 

THE MEYVAERT MUSEUM PRIZE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

The Meyvaert Museum Prize for Sustainability is sponsored by Meyvaert and goes to a museum which demonstrates an exceptional commitment to social, economic and environmental sustainability in how it operates and/or how it presents issues of sustainability in its displays and programmes. Prior to 2020, before being introduced as an award, this prize was given as a special commendation for sustainability.

The Meyvaert Museum Prize for Sustainability 2020 - Wadden Sea Centre, Ribe, Denmark

The Meyvaert Museum Prize for Sustainability 2021 - Museum Walserhaus Gurin, Bosco Gurin, Switzerland

 

THE SPECIAL COMMENDATIONS

Special Commendations are given to museums that have developed a new and innovative aspect of their public service and from which other European museums can learn.

Special Commendations 2020

M9 Museum, Venice, Italy

Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Uchma Museum, Uchma, Russian Federation

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Museum Hof van Busleyden, Mechelen, Belgium

Museum of Archaeological Wood “Tatar Settlement”, Sviyazhsk, Russian Federation

Troy Museum, Çanakkale, Turkey

Special Commendations 2021

Women’s Museum Hittisau, Hittisau, Austria

Haapsalu Castle Museum, Haapsalu, Estonia

Futurium, Berlin, Germany

Hungarian Museum of Water Management and Environmental Protection Danube Museum, Esztergom, Hungary

Thesaurus Cracoviensis – Museum of Kraków, Kraków, Poland

Odunpazarı Modern Museum, Eskişehir, Turkey

EMYA has proved to be the longest running and most prestigious museum award in Europe and provides an important platform for benchmarking, networking, exchange of reflections, experience and skills across the wider continent of Europe.

Overseen by the European Museum Forum, since 1977 EMYA has been dedicated to promoting innovation and excellence in public quality in museum practice, encouraging networking and exchange of ideas and best practices within the sector. EMF/EMYA works within an overall framework of a commitment to citizenship, democracy and human rights, to sustainability, to bridging cultures and social and political borders.

Museum candidates are either new museums, first opened to the public within the past three years, or established museums that have renewed their organisation and completed a substantial programme of modernisation and extension of their buildings and galleries. Over the years the EMYA scheme has developed into a series of different awards, each with their own specific profile.

To see detailed breakdown of each category, see here.

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