Winner of the European Museum of the Year Award 2015 is the Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands
Congratulations to all proud winners attending the 2015 Awards
The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) was presented at the 2015 Award Ceremony hosted by the Riverside Museum in Glasgow - Winner of the 2013 European Museum of the Year Award. The award scheme celebrates 38 year of excellence and innovation in museums across Europe.
The 2015 Awards were announced on 16 May in presence of over 200 people from 29 European countries.
The results of the 2015 Awards are as follows.
The European Museum of the Year Award 2015 goes to Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The museum received the EMYA trophy The Egg, by Henry Moore, which it will keep for one year.
This world-famous museum was closed for almost a decade to allow for a complete overhaul of the building, which enabled the creation of new concourse spaces, much better visitor services and circulation. The stunning restoration of original wall-paintings, the elegant rehang of its world-famous paintings, the Museum’s new historic galleries which integrate all the collections, a new Asian Art pavilion and a new medieval gallery: all celebrate the range and depth of the Museum’s collections vividly. The renewed Rijksmuseum offers impressive multilingual guidance to its visitors, witty and thought-provoking interventions in the galleries, and a state-of-the-art website for virtual visitors. Not immediately obvious to the visitor are the museum’s diverse educational and outreach programmes. The ambition to “reach every child in the Netherlands by the age of twelve” is notable, impressive and achievable. This is a great museum, at the height of its powers, providing a rich experience to the public, and a socially aware outreach programme for visitors of all ages.
The Silletto Prize 2015
The Silletto Prize recognises excellence in working with the local community and involving volunteers. It goes to The Familistère at Guise, France.
In Guise, a little town in the north of France, 19th century manufacturer Godin created a phalanstery, the Familistère. In this ‘social palace’, he created large pavilions with apartments for the workers, but also schools, shops, a theatre, a swimming-pool and gardens. Today’s museum evokes the history of the site and the factory. Visitors and inhabitants of the site participate in the same activities as the 19th century workers. The Familistère works with volunteers to offer guided tours and PR content, but the Museum also involves inhabitants of the site in outreach activities. The Judging Panel was impressed by the way the museum both illustrates the past and links it to the present, whilst at the same time being a living museum. It has heroically saved a heritage site and made it flourish again. The museum restores pride to the local community and shows how today’s cultural and economic activities, rooted in the heritage of a site, can help the regeneration of a town following a deep economic crisis.
The Kenneth Hudson Award 2015
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 The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva, Switzerland.
The museum has transcended the boundaries of a typical corporate museum and recomposed its vast and constantly growing collection into an emotionally touching and engaging story. The story is about compassion and timely help to those in need, about hope and perseverance in finding lost family members, and restoring someone's trampled dignity. Documentary accounts of witnesses are masterfully woven into the ambience. The newly redesigned exhibition appeals to the emotive mechanisms of perception, and touches on the topic of strong moral values. The Judges were particularly impressed by the Museum’s decision to choose three famous designers from different cultural backgrounds to visualise three major topics of the permanent exhibition. This, they felt, was a bold manifestation of true cultural diversity and as such represented an outstanding aspect of the Museum, which elevated it to the position of a prize winner.
Special Commendations 2015
The following museums have received Special Commendations from the EMYA Judging Panel:
The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, Haltia, Finland (Special Commendation for Sustainability)
From its building materials to its energy-saving green technology, Haltia has been planned as an exemplar for the relationship between man and nature. The museum takes on the role not only of educating young people about nature, but also addressing the question of man's capability to cope on this planet, and carries a message for the future about the possibility of long term sustainability.
Red Star Line Museum, Antwerp, Belgium
Using its collections alongside clever montage, interactive media, poignant and relevant objects, the museum presents the story of migration through the city and port of Antwerp from 1840 to 1930. It meditates on migration as an intrinsic part of human heritage and includes in its outreach programmes the new immigrant communities in its hinterland.
MUSE: Museo delle Scienze (Science Museum), Trento, Italy
This museum represents innovation and creativity in all of its museum functions. Stimulating the relationship between nature, science and society, the Muse: Science Museum demonstrates great commitment to the democratization of access, exploration and discovery and awareness of current issues in the relationship between nature, natural heritage and environmental sustainability.
Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth, UK
This museum is awarded for the beautifully designed building which accommodates the restored warship, and its valuable educational and inclusive outreach programmes. The nature of its conservation and scientific research makes the museum a leader in the world of maritime archaeology and a laboratory for the rescue of organic material from underwater sites. The exceptional way in which it presents this to the public sets a new standard for museums of its kind.
Vorarlberg Museum, Vorarlberg, Austria
The Voralberg Museum shows courage in questioning preconceived ideas and is awarded for its open and deconstructive approach in the exploration of local and regional identities. Its passion and commitment to its core purpose make it stand out amongst museums of its type.
The Council of Europe Museum Prize 2015
Announced earlier this year, the Council of Europe Museum Prize and the accompanying trophy, La femme aux beaux seins by Joan Miró, has gone to MuCEM: Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, Marseille, France.
The museum’s concept is based on the idea of the Mediterranean as the founding basin of European civilisation. How the idea of citizenship was born in cities around the Mediterranean is addressed in the museum, forcing the visitor to reflect upon – and be challenged by – the different perspectives on European history, to deal with the complexity of Europe and the Mediterranean world, to explore differences and visions, from the birth of Europe, through its evolution, right up to the present day and contemporary, society-wide issues. The Museum’s concept and programme show how a museum can extend its scope and mission – from traditional scientific, historical and cultural functions to a focus on the citizen, and to urban and social dimensions. The planning of the building and its site, the organising principles, the democratising ideal of shared use of the spaces with the city, turn MuCEM into a 21st century agora, an outstanding urban solution, and a landmark for the city of Marseille and the region. The Museum builds a permanent bridge between European and Mediterranean cultures.