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European Museum of the Year Award Council of Europe Museum Prize

The European Museum Forum (EMF) is an independent not-for-profit organisation which is a charitable company registered in the UK, dedicated to promoting innovation in museum practice and encouraging exchange of best practice and ideas across Europe.


  • Any new museum or any museum substantially renovated or redeveloped, can apply.
  • Temporary or ‘semi-permanent’ exhibitions can be the subject of an application. It has to be noted that museums/exhibitions need to be open/completed in time for the judging visit (summer – early autumn) and have to remain accessible until at least the end of June the following year.
  • Museums/exhibitions opened for more than 3 years at the time of the application, are not eligible.
  • No individual museum can be submitted for the award within three years of a previous application i.e. in 2016,2017 or 2018. (This does not include different branches of a multi-venue museum service).


EMYA 2021 call for applications is now open.

Please carefully read the guidelines below.

All candidates should provide the following information:

Illustrations: (FAQ 11)

  • A maximum of 20 digital images, in JPEG format. These images should be no less than 300 dpi and be at least 1000×1000 pixels in size. The image files must be of a suitable quality for reproduction and projection and each image must be given a unique file name. The images should include at least one exterior view of the museum and general views of the galleries and activities. We do not require images of individual items.
  • Please note that these images will be used by the EMF in a number of ways, including publication of a selection in the annual candidates’ brochure. The images must be of a good quality, free of copyright and available for use in the Annual EMYA publications and on the EMF web site.

Any other digital material which you may wish to send to us separately.

This could include electronic versions of the Museum’s leaflets, brochures or catalogues and a small selection of relevant press cuttings.

  • If you intend to submit other supporting material via a file-sharing website you should send EMF a notification of the upload (to and also ensure that the files will be available for download by us for at least one month from the date you upload the files. We would appreciate the upload of complete folders rather than multiple uploads of individual files.
  • A content list of all accompanying material must be sent to us.

Please note: All paper and electronic material will be retained in the EMF Archive after the judging has taken place. The archive is held at the Museu de Portimão in Portugal.


All candidates are considered by the EMYA Jury, which is an independent international expert body appointed by the EMF Board of Trustees. Judges are not remunerated by EMF for their participation in the judging process.

Museums applying to enter the competition will be judged in the following way:

  1. A careful assessment of the application form and supporting material. We reserve the right to decline applications if we believe that the basic criteria for entry have not been met.
  2. The EMYA Jury will agree on a long list of candidates from the remaining applications.
  3. A visit by an EMYA Judge will take place to all long-listed museums during summer/autumn. Arrangement of the Judge’s visit will be agreed with the museum once the long list has been approved by the Jury.
  4. After the initial visit, another EMYA Judge may visit a candidate museum anonymously for the second time at the decision of the Jury.
  5. The EMYA Jury meets in November to consider all Judges' reports and make decisions on the Nominated (short-listed) museums and on the winners.
  6. Nominated museums are expected to present themselves during the EMF Annual Conference and EMYA Ceremony.
  7. Winners are announced on the last day of the Conference in a formal Ceremony and Gala celebration.
  8. Winner of the Council of Europe Museum Prize may be announced earlier, at the decision of the Council.


Media policy

  • Award winners are obliged to promote EMF via their institutional website indicating the place and year the award was won.
  • All nominees have permission to use the EMYA logo on their website by following the copyright rules set out by EMF.
  • All nominees of the EMYA will be published on the EMF website.
  • All publicity generated by the awards should be forwarded to EMF via email or the below address.


  • The winners of the European Museum of the Year Award, Silletto Prize and Portimão Museum Prize are handed a statuette to display in their museum for one year.
  • Borrowers are obliged to provide facilities (environmental, security, insurance, packing and transport for the hand-over etc.) to maintain the award in appropriate conditions and cover the related expenses.
  • The borrower should indemnify the award trophy (EMYA Award, Silletto Prize, Portimão Museum Prize) against all insurable risks from the moment it is handed over until its return to EMF at the subsequent EMF Annual Assembly and EMYA Ceremony.
  • The EMYA winner is expected to give a brief presentation about the impact of the award during the subsequent EMF Annual Assembly and EMYA Ceremony.

For further information, please contact: Pedro Branco, EMF Administrator, at: