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Frequently asked questions

Which museums/exhibitions can apply?

The applying museum can be EITHER a new museum first opened to the public in the past three years, OR it can be an established museum that has completed a substantial programme of modernisation, extension, reorganisation or re-interpretation during the past three years. Museums/exhibitions opened for more than 3 years at the time of the call for applications for EMYA are not eligible. Temporary or ‘semi-permanent’ exhibitions can be the subject of an application. However, such 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 2019.

FAQ 1: What type of museum?

Is your museum an art museum, a craft museum, an ethnographical or folk life museum, a museum of natural history, science, transport or industry, a general historical museum

or an historical museum dedicated to a particular period or event, is it a city, town or regional museum dealing with many subjects or just with one aspect, is it a museum dedicated to the life and work of a single person or group of people, is it a museum dedicated to a trade or single industry, or to traditional (‘folk’) arts? Your museum may be a combination of many of the above, it may also be a museum based on a unique heritage building or enterprise. It may also be an entirely unique concept in which case explain in what way it does not fit into the traditional definition of a museum.

FAQ 2: Who owns your museum and its collections?

Is it owned by a government ministry, a municipality, a charitable foundation or trust, a religious organisation, or a co-operative, by a private individual or by a business enterprise? ·

FAQ 3: How is your museum funded?

Is it by government or municipal annual grant, by private or charitable endowment, by a business enterprise committed to supporting your museum, by earnings, donations and occasional grants? Is your museum’s income guaranteed, and is your museum financially sustainable?

FAQ 4: Form of governance of the museum

Does a director appointed by a ministry or municipality, by a foundation or charitable trust, by a private owner or business enterprise, manage your museum? Has it a Board of Governors or Trustees who hold final authority over the museum’s activities? Who is the legal employer of the staff?

FAQ 5: Profile of the collection

See also FAQ 1 above. What are the collections that make up your museum? Briefly list the major categories of collections held by your museum and the approximate proportions of different kinds of collection. Remember also that your building may be a major part of your collection especially in the case of industrial, scientific, craft or historical museums

FAQ 6: State of registration and conservation of collection. How do I answer this question if our museum catalogue is incomplete?

Please give the latest figures of the numbers of objects in your collection and the numbers of those that have been fully registered. If the cataloguing of your collection is a work in progress, please describe the work that has been done to date. Please state if your cataloguing is manual (i.e. in written registers) or on computer. If your catalogue is completely or partly available online, please state it in your response. What steps have you taken to protect your collections’ record in the event of a disaster?

FAQ 7: How was the museum or redevelopment financed?

Please state what, if any, government, foundation, municipality, business sponsorship or private philanthropic funds were provided for the redevelopment of your museum and in what proportions. If you have taken out a loan or if the community has raised subscriptions, please state this

FAQ 8: Major external partners involved in the creation or redevelopment of the museum

Who were your partners in the development of the museum? Please list your partners, whether national government, or government agencies such as tourism organisations, municipal or regional government, business, private foundations etc.

FAQ 9: What does “organisation” of my museum mean?

Has your museum a central administration? How are the members of staff distributed across the various functions of the museum: curatorship, collections management, conservation, exhibition, education and outreach, visitor services, facilities management, security? If your museum is small and does not have a range of specialist staff explain how you manage your different functions with the staff which you have. Please note that small museums are not disadvantaged in the competition by having limited staff resources. If you have an ingenious way of making the most of your staff please explain it here.

FAQ 10: What does environmental or social sustainability mean?

By environmental sustainability, we mean all initiatives related to an ecological attitude that the museum has been adopting or is striving to adopt in the development of the new exhibitions, in all aspects of the building and of its functioning. Museums should consider the environmental impact of other resources they consume, such as exhibition and building materials, water and paper, and reduce their waste. This also includes encouraging visitors to be aware of environmentally sustainable methods in their lives and, more specifically, how environmental considerations impact on the visitors. By social sustainability, we mean how museums engage with many communities and actively develop new audiences, by considering the concerns of local people alongside those of experts. For example, museums can increase their social sustainability by deepening and diversifying their relationship with audiences. They should reflect the diversity of society in all that they do. In particular, they need to find ways to maintain relationships with new audiences beyond the limits of a short-term audience-development project.

FAQ 11: What images of my museum should I provide?

Please provide a maximum of twenty (20) images in digital format and at a resolution suitable for print and projection. Please do NOT provide very high resolution images as these may be difficult to download for some of the Judges. As a priority, choose images that show those aspects of your museum that you wish to emphasise. In particular, provide images that display the nature and quality of the visitor experience of your building and exhibitions. It is most important that Judges should be able to form a clear idea of the quality and layout of your exhibitions and facilities from your selection of pictures. It is a good idea to show your museum being enjoyed by visitors but do not send images of festivals and events that are so crowded that your museum’s qualities are hard to see. Choose images of events carefully to display your museum at its best. As a rough guide to what you should send, you might consider the following: 2-3 pictures of your museum in its setting in a town, city or countryside. Make sure that the architecture of your museum is clearly visible;

7-8 images of your museum’s exhibitions showing the design and layout and any important features that you wish to emphasize; 5-6 images of visitors enjoying your museum; 2-3 images of an important event in the history of your museum since its opening or re-opening after renovation. These are NOT rules, they are suggestions so that your museum can be readily and sympathetically evaluated. Plan your images carefully to show your museum off to best advantage. If you have not got suitable images available, get some new pictures taken. If, in addition to photographs, you wish also to send video material, it may be best to provide a link to a website where it may be viewed such as, for example, YouTube. If you wish to send it in the form of a file on disk, please ensure that it is in a format, which is widely used and easy to open. When a judge appointed to visit your museum contacts you to arrange a visit, there may be opportunities to send additional material

FAQ 12: How do I enter my museum for the Council of Europe Museum Prize?

There is no special entry for the Council of Europe Museum Prize. All candidates for EMYA are automatically entered for the Council of Europe Museum Prize. The EMYA Judging Panel makes recommendations to the Council of Europe, who chooses and announces the winner separately from EMYA, usually in December of the year of judging. In order to qualify for the Council of Europe Prize a museum must demonstrate professional excellence, innovative approach and public quality, as it must to qualify for EMYA, but also it has to correspond to one or more of the following specific criteria: promote respect for human rights and democratic institutions; maintain an open and inclusive policy aimed at bridging cultures, overcoming social and political borders; introduce innovative schemes of governance and management that enhance cultural democracy; present a European perspective, which may provide a dramatic interplay between a local identity and the European identity; establish conditions to ensure access by the widest possible public; use cutting-edge information and communication technology and provide a space for new cultural creation and mediation technologies; coach visitors towards new knowledge and ideas of good and responsible citizenship; promote heritage-based creativity and the development of the heritage sector of cultural industries.

FAQ 13: How do I enter for the Kenneth Hudson Award?

This is the award presented by the Trustees of the European Museum Forum, the parent body of EMYA. The EMYA Judging Panel makes recommendations to the Trustees but the decision to award or not to award is entirely a matter for the Trustees who may choose from a wider list of candidates than the one proposed by the EMYA Judges. There is, thus, no method of entry, except for applying for EMYA.

FAQ 14: What is the Silletto Prize?

This prize is awarded by the EMYA Judging Panel to the museum, which, in their opinion, has demonstrated excellence in involving its local community in developing museum and heritage projects or has attracted outstanding support from its work with volunteers. The Silletto Prize is awarded to a museum that has entered for EMYA in the year of the award. There is no special application process.

FAQ 15: What is a Special Commendation?

A Special Commendation of the EMYA Judging Panel is awarded to a museum, which, in the opinion of the Judges, has made a distinguished achievement in a certain aspect or aspects of its work. While there is no fixed number of Special Commendations, very few are awarded and it is a mark of exceptional quality in the work of the museum so awarded.

FAQ 16: What is public quality? My museum will be judged on its “public quality”. What does that mean?

The public quality of a museum is not just one thing; it is a series of interlinked characteristics: How well does your museum relate to and serve your public? Does it engage in a dialogue with its visitors trying to speak clearly and in terms they would understand? Does it provide a quality museum experience for different groups of people? Is your museum easy to find and accessible? Is it easy to visit for people who include the whole range of abilities and lack of them across society: able-bodied members of the public, hearing-, sight- and mobility-impaired and educationally-disadvantaged citizens? Is your museum linguistically accessible – does it use or provide texts in more than one language? Does your museum provide information designed to be open to people of many different educational backgrounds and intellectual abilities? Does your museum run programmes for different audiences and participant groups? Is it parent-and-child friendly? Is your museum engaged with its community? Does it respond to community concerns? Has it outreach programmes not just to schools and university but also to community groups of many different kinds. Has it robust educational and other social policies? Does your museum play a role in raising awareness within the local community of culture of the municipality, the region? Does it stimulate/promote heritage-based activities for local people and people from other regions/countries? Does it offer a range of facilities for example adequate toilet facilities including those for mobility impaired visitors? Is there a café? (This may not always be essential.) The list above is not a list of requirements but an indication of some ways in which your museum might demonstrate its public quality. It cannot be seen as a scorecard. Your museum may demonstrate its public service in other ways not contained in this list.

FAQ 17  What does ‘substantially renovated or redeveloped’ mean?

If the whole museum has not been renewed, candidates should indicate the percentage of the public space (i.e. not stores or offices etc.) space which has been refurbished.  There is no minimum percentage, but the new display should be significant part of the whole.  Large museums undertaking a phased renewal should consider submitting a number of phases in a single application (bearing in mind the three year rule).