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Council of Europe Museum Prize 2020

National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves”
Tirana, Albania

The 2020 Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded to The National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves” (Tirana, Albania). The museum was selected by the Culture Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at a meeting in Paris on the 6th December 2019.

The National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves” commemorates the psychological violence and total control of citizens during the communist regime in Albania (1944-1991) during which 18,000 people were prosecuted and charged and 5,000 executed. It is situated in the former State Security house in the centre of Tirana, which served as the Central Directorate of the Sigurimi, a technical branch of the Albanian State service agency. The particular feature of this small museum is that it has remained virtually intact with original equipment and recordings which are now stored in archives.

According to committee representative for the Museum Prize, Roberto Rampi (Italy, SOC), “we need to support and encourage smaller museums with less resources in openly dealing with the wounds of the past. The “House of Leaves” is a very moving museum run on a very low budget by enthusiastic staff. Today, society is confronted with the widespread use of high-tech devices and threats of mass surveillance through facial recognition, access to private data, etc. This museum is evocative of the darkest days of the past which should not be forgotten.

See the Council of Europe official statement

For all winners since 1977 see underneath

2019: Museum of Communication
Bern, Switzerland

According to committee representative for the Museum Prize, Nino Goguadze (Georgia, EC), the Museum of Communication “is clearly a very interactive, multi-sensory, participatory, accessible, playful, open and democratic museum. It is a lab for social interaction, relationships and processes. It addresses, in a creative and open way, emerging issues related to present-day communication: the value of truth; the impact of lying; privacy; hacking secrets; understanding and misunderstanding; communication in a culturally diverse society; and the issue of ‘memory’ from millennia-old clay tablets to contemporary ephemeral ‘clouds’”.

2018: War Childhood Museum 
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In their announcement, the Council of Europe writes: “The War Childhood Museum, which is deliberately apolitical, aims to fill in an existing gap in documenting war experiences from the child’s perspective and therefore expands its research and collection across Bosnia and Herzegovina, among diaspora living abroad and also globally. The judging panel praised the museum’s real potential to serve as a powerful self-sustained model of civic initiative and said it offered an example that could be replicated in other major conflict and post-conflict zones in the world.”
See video contributions and interviews on EMF Youtube channel.

2017: Caribbean Centre of Expressions and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery
Guadeloupe (France)

2016: The European Solidarity Centre
Gdańsk, Poland

2015: MUCEM
Marseille, France

2014: Baksı Müzesi
Bayburt, Turkey

2013: Museum of Liverpool
Liverpool, United-Kingdom

2012: Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum
Cologne, Germany

2010: Portimão Museum
Algarve, Portugal

2009: Zeeuws Museum
Middelburg, Netherlands

2008: Svalbard Museum
Longyearbyen, Norway

2007: International Museum of the Reformation
Geneva, Switzerland

2006: Churchill Museum
London, United Kingdom

2005: Museum of Byzantine Culture
Thessaloniki, Greece

2004: Museum of Health Care
Edirne, Turkey

2003: Latenium
Hauterive, Switzerland

2002: Buddenbrookhaus
Lübeck, Germany

2001: Helsinki Theatre Museum
Helsinki, Finland

2000: In Flanders Fields
Ieper/Ypres, Belgium

1999 : Palais des beaux Arts
Lille, France

1998: Museum Centre on Strelka
Krasnoyarsk, Russia

1997: Children's Museum, Tropical Museum
Amsterdam, Netherlands

1996: MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts
Vienna, Austria

1995: House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany
Bonn, Germany

1994: Provincial Museum of Lapland
Rovaniemi, Finland

1993: Kobarid Museum
Kobarid, Slovenia

1993: Archaeological Museum of Istanbul
Istanbul, Turkey

1992: Argenta Marsh Museum
Argenta, Italy

1991: German Salt Museum
Lüneburg, Germany

1990: Manuel da Maia Museum of Water
Lisbon, Portugal

1989: Jewish Historical Museum
Amsterdam, Netherlands

1988: The Bavarian National Museum
Munich, Germany

1988: Museum of the Convent of Descalzas Reales
Madrid, Spain

1987: Heimatmuseum-Neukölln Museum
Berlin, Germany

1984: Living Museum of the Canal du Centre
Thieu, Belgium

1984: The Boat Museum
Ellesmere Port, United Kingdom

1983: Joanneum - The Provincial Museum of Styria
Graz, Austria

1982: Åland Museum
Mariehamn, Finland

1981: Music Museum
Stockholm, Sweden

1980: Monaghan County Museum
Monaghan, Ireland

1979: Municipal Museum
Rüsselsheim, Germany

1978: Bryggens Museum
Bergen, Norway

1977: Joan Miró Foundation
Barcelona, Spain

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