The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA), organised by the European Museum Forum (EMF), was presented on 12 May, at the 2018 Award Ceremony held in Warsaw, Poland, in collaboration with National Institute for Museums and Public Collections, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
The European Museum of the Year Award and the Council of Europe Museum Prize, are the longest running and most prestigious awards in Europe.
EMF/EMYA is dedicated to promoting excellence in innovation and public quality in museum practice, encouraging networking and exchange of ideas and sustainable best practices within the sector.
EMF/EMYA works within an overall framework of a commitment to citizenship, democracy and human rights, to bridging cultures and social and political borders, and to sustainability.
The results of the 2018 Awards are as follows:
The European Museum of the Year Award 2018 goes to DESIGN MUSEUM, London, United Kingdom.
In its unique building this inspiring, socially-aware museum is an exceptional achievement, celebrating and exploring the magic of human creativity, the objects, ideas skills and forces that shape our lives.
Without losing its identity, this museum was able to renew and strengthen its public values, reopening with a wide range of new exhibitions along with an intense program of activities, providing an impressive and memorable experience for its visitors of all ages, achieving accessibility of the highest quality.
It sets its collections in the context of global technological and cultural knowledge, providing a high level of interactivity, establishing an important democratic and multilayered intercultural dialogue, with a significant social impact in the community.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to give its Museum Prize 2018 to the WAR CHILDHOOD MUSEUM in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The War Childhood Museum is a powerful example of research-led, human-centred, story-driven museum which addresses one of the vital issues of our time. By focusing on children’s experiences, the WCM has set ambitious goals in becoming a very important platform for communal healing and reconciliation and an effective medium for communicating children’s resilience during times of war.
It offers empowerment, self-awareness, and catharsis to people who suffered deep traumas and it connects past childhood memories of war with current ones. In its advocacy of peace, reconciliation and the value of cultural diversity it embodies in an inspirational way the humane and democratic values of the Council of Europe.
The Silletto Prize recognises excellence in working with the local community and involving volunteers. It goes to BETINA MUSEUM OF WOODEN SHIPBUILDING, Betina, Croatia.
This an excellent example of a museum which is an expression of the identity of a community, driven by vision, enthusiasm and commitment. Its collections have been donated by the people of the village, providing an insight into the traditional way of life linking the present and the past, and bringing younger and older people together. Everyone involved in the museum’s activities, from the staff to the visitors, is strongly engaged with it. Because of its extraordinary commitment to social responsibility, it constitutes a model of relations between museum, community and local enterprises.
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 ESTONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM, Tartu, Estonia.
This museum provides a thoughtful exploration of what belonging to a place means, so that it collects, preserves and interprets memories of the past in ways which make the museum an inclusive, creative learning environment for all. This museum considers and deals with complex and controversial histories and views its main responsibility as collecting and preserving memory to create a new vision of cultural dialogue which links past with future. By taking a dialogic multi-vocal, participatory approach to the history of everyday life, the museum reinvents the traditional concept of a national museum.
The following museums have received Special Commendations from EMYA 2018 Judging Panel:
Special Commendation for Sustainability
Vapriikki Museum Centre, Tampere, Finland
Introduced for the first time in 2015, the prize is awarded to a museum which has demonstrated a high commitment in developing initiatives related to ecological attitudes, reducing the environmental impact and reflecting the diversity of its society, without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs.
The Special Commendation for Sustainability was presented to Vapriikki Museum Centre, Tampere, Finland. This is an example of museums collaborating and sharing facilities without losing their identity or the specific collection history and mission of each.
It provides a model for museums across the world, as well as serving its local communities. This museum is awarded for its unique concept of creating a socially responsible, rational, economically viable, sustainable and professional cultural institution, united by the principle of collaborative working.
Lascaux IV- International Centre For Cave Art, Dordogne, France
This is a museum which provides a profound sensory and cognitive experience, even though it faces a challenge to interpret one of the most famous archaeological sites in Europe, without being able to allow people to see the original. The museum has overcome this difficulty through meticulous research and the use of high definition reconstruction technology. ‘Emotion’ and ‘enthusiasm for learning’ are the words which sum up the visitor experience.
Helsinki City Museum, Helsinki, Finland
The museum has taken the principle of co-production to its heart, working closely with its communities to understand which histories are important to them and what they want from public spaces. The new museum is welcoming, warm and easy to approach. It provides an innovative informal learning environment with constant interaction between celebratory, nostalgic and difficult histories, showing that a person can play many different roles and different people can be connected by one experience – for example, by love of a city.
Rainis and Aspazija’s Museum, Riga, Jurmala and Tadenava, Latvia
This museum is very successful in capturing the life of individuals from the past and make them relevant for present generations. It communicates very movingly the triumphs and trials of two writers who played a crucial role in defining Latvia national identity and whose lives were intertwined. The displays and activities bring to life themes from the writers' work relevant to the 21st century, such as human rights and the rights of women, which are rich in implications for modern people.
Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo, Florence, Italy
This museum took on the task of reinterpreting a collection associated with one of the most important buildings in Europe, a collection whose sophisticated meanings are no longer part of the everyday life of many of its visitors.
Through creative architecture and its ‘storytelling’ interpretive approach, based on profound connoisseurship of art history and theology, it enables great religious art to speak in different ways, to diverse audiences.
Museum University Of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
This is an inclusive museum in all aspects of its work and shows its visitors of all ages and backgrounds, that art can open minds and reveal new and creative ways of thinking about and solving problems. In a high quality new building the museum brings together different audience groups based on its excellent collection and the high-quality activities the museum staff organize.
This inclusive and multidisciplinary approach has the potential to redefine the role of this museum worldwide.
Museo Egizio, Turin, Italy
The museum demonstrates the ability to continuously inspire audience interest through the dynamic renewal of its long-term exhibitions, exploring, investigating and presenting through them, important and fascinating stories that brings to life remarkable moments in our global history that changed and influenced our world.
This Museum puts research at the heart of all its work, demonstrates a strong commitment to cultural diplomacy and facilitates intercultural dialogue in ways which have increased public fascination with the content and context of its collections.
Press release by European Museum Forum