The European Museum of the Year Award 2016 goes to POLIN - Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The museum that is situated at the site of a once vibrant Jewish neighborhood, which became the site of the Warsaw Ghetto from October 1940 to May 1943, presents the 1000 years of history of Polish Jews and their contribution to the region and to Europe, from the first settlement to the present time.
The jury particularly honored the museum for serving very large and very diverse audiences, stating that the "POLIN now serves as an absorbing place to confront and examine the perpetually relevant questions of how a co-existence, however fraught, can suddenly transfigure into an absolute rupture, into the near eradication of a whole population and destruction of a culture."
The EMF, who has a long-term partnership with NEMO, also awarded the Council of Europe Museum Prize, the Kenneth Hudson Award, the Silletto Prize and special commendations during the ceremony on 9 April.
Winner of the Council of Europe Museum Prize was the European Solidarity Centre located in Gdansk, Poland. The jury was particularly impressed by the narrative that presents the history of this movement in different ways and with a look towards the future. Furthermore the centre, which is located among an educational, research and academic centre, an archive, a library, a multimedia library and more wants to serve as a public meeting space focused on citizenship, democracy and solidarity.
Additionally the Siletto Prize 2016 honoring excellence in working with the local community and involving volunteers was given to the Vukovar City Museum in Vukovar, Croatia. The museum displaying the younger history of the region, particularly the Yugoslav Wars, plays an important role in "reconstructing social and cultural life in Vukovar."
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. Kenneth Hudson was the founder of EMF and EMYA and this year's awards marked his centenary. It went to Micropia, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, which in its exhibition uses technologies of shared and projected microscopy to present to the public microbial life, adding didactic elements that "impart information in a witty and effective manner. Integral to the success of the principal display is the biological laboratory staffed by volunteers and professional scientists working in a space fully visible to the visitor."
The special commendations from the EMYA Judges Panel include the Museum of Bibracte in Mont Beuvray in France, the Archeological Museum of Tegea in Greece, the permanent exhibitions within the Monument to Victory in Bolzano, Italy and the Whithworth Art Gallery in Manchester, UK.
The 39th Award ceremony was organised by EMF in collaboration with TOPIC, Tolosa’s International Puppet Centre, on 9 April 2016 in San Sebastian, Spain. The ceremony was attended by over 200 people from 29 European countries.