Committed to sustainability, democracy and human rights Supporting innovation and excellence in European museums

The Awards

The two main awards, the EMYA and the Council of Europe Museum Prize, have been awarded continuously since 1977. The EMYA award scheme responds to long term societal changes as well as current urgent social issues, and reflects the challenges, obligations and opportunities which museums face in the 21st century.

An average of around 45 museums apply each year, from across the 46 CoE member countries, with winners distributed across museums of all types, scales, disciplines and locations. 2020 set a record with 61 candidates.

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The Winners

Museum candidates are either new museums, first opened to the public within the past three years, or established museums that have renewed their organization and completed a substantial programme of modernization 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. Discover them all.

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Kenneth Hudson

About us

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. EMYA was founded in 1977 on the principles of supporting, encouraging, awarding and showcasing excellence and innovation in the museum field, particularly in the areas conceptualised by Kenneth Hudson as ‘public quality’.

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Our stories

L'ETNO, Valencian Museum of Ethnology

Receiving the EMYA award is being a massive thing for L’ETNO, probably the best that has ever happened to our museum. Only a few days after the announcement, we are already feeling a big change. As a museum L’ETNO has always suffered from invisibility and some lack of understanding among our own people/authorities. It is somehow normal, we are not one of the region's big museums, and we work with a type of heritage -ethnographic- not too glamorous.

What is happening after the prize is a revolution. Media attention is being massive, and, suddenly, there is a kind of sense of pride all around us. What seemed difficult, seems easy. The team, of course, is happier than ever. This is a game changing experience!

Permanent exhibition “Not Easy to be Valencian”. The City: Global and Local. Tower of electrical appliances. Author: Hector Juan © L’ETNO

Our stories

Amina Krvavac, Chair of the EMYA Jury

Over the past years, I have had a chance to interact with the EMYA judging panel, to learn about its work and the values it stands for, as well as its detailed evaluation process, but from the perspective of a museum candidate for one of the prizes awarded under the EMYA scheme.

In the course of this process, I understood how valuable the existence and work of EMYA is for any European museum, big or small, old or new, as it continuously inspires and motivates the museums to strive for higher quality and excellence in all aspects of their work. Becoming a judge and finding myself on the other side of the process is an incredible honour, one that comes with great responsibility to contribute to this important mission.

Joining EMYA judging panel is an incredible opportunity to get to know and work closely with an inspiring and dedicated group of professionals on promoting and advocating for excellence and innovation in the European museum sector. The privilege that comes with being an EMYA judge also lies in visiting and learning about the incredible work of nominated museums. Engaging in meaningful conversations with a very diverse pool of professionals allows for personal and professional growth, resulting in life-enriching experience.

M. Cristina Vannini, National Correspondent (Italy)

I have been part of the big EMF/EMYA family since 2004, having held most of the roles: advisor, national correspondent, board member and now, once again, national correspondent (it is almost impossible to leave EMF/EMYA once you've gotten involved!) with a deeper understanding of the meaning of this organization than I had at the beginning of my involvement.

The vision of EMF has changed over all these years, shaping upon the ideas of different Presidents and Boards, but the stated mission of founder Kenneth Hudson is still here to remind us of the central significance of public quality and innovation in the museum field.

My own personal professional growth owes much to the teachings and values of EMF, which I have tried to apply to my work as a museum consultant and lecturer in museum studies in a country where, even recently, the main concerns and policies on museums are still oriented towards conservation and less towards experience. Italy has always been underrepresented in EMYA, but the museums that have accepted the challenge have reported an extraordinary experience that has taught them to open up their views, to confront the outside world, and to establish a true dialogue with their societies and wider stakeholders to meet their mutual ends. And it is this what makes me continue to believe that the role of EMF/EMYA has a bearing in the years to come.