Prizewinners on stage during the Emya 2019 ceremony

Netherlands’ Rijksmuseum Boerhaave wins Emya 2019

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 29.05.2019
SS Great Britain named Europe’s most welcoming museum
The European Museum of the Year Award (Emya) 2019 has gone to Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in the Netherlands, which tells the history of science and medicine. 

The museum won the accolade for its “artful approach to communicating science”. 

The European Museum Forum (EMF), which oversees the prize, said: “Important and beautiful objects are interpreted using the latest technologies and the personal stories of those driven by a passion for the pursuit of knowledge. The result is science with a human face, inspiring curiosity and amazement as well as engaging a wide public in debates on important scientific and ethical questions issues of our time.”

A number of other museums across Europe also won prizes at the Emya 2019 ceremony, which was held at the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo on 25 May. 

SS Great Britain in Bristol won the Portimão Museum Prize, which recognises the venue as Europe’s Most Welcoming Museum 2019. 

The EMF said: “All elements of the museum – its human qualities and physical environment – contribute to the feeling of welcome, as do events and activities in and around the museum.”

The historic ship was the only UK institution among this year’s winners. It was also shortlisted for the main Emya prize, along with the D-Day Story in Portsmouth and the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire.

The Museum fur Kommunikation (Museum of Communication) in Bern, Switzerland, won the Council of Europe Museum Prize, which honours museums that have contributed to the understanding of European cultural heritage and the promotion of respect for human rights and democracy.

The museum was recognised “for the creative way it promotes media literacy in the service of responsible citizenship in a functioning democracy”.

The Kenneth Hudson Award went to the Weltmuseum Wien (World Museum Vienna) in Austria for its ambitious work in decolonisation and its promotion of human rights and intercultural coexistence. The prize honours the most unusual and daring achievement “that challenges common perceptions of the role of museums in society”.

The Strandingsmuseum (Shipwreck Museum) St George in Denmark won the Silletto Prize, which recognises excellence in working with the local community and involving volunteers. 

The Special Commendation for Sustainability, a prize that was introduced in 2015 to honour a high commitment to ecological initiatives, went to the World Nature Forum in Switzerland. 

It was announced at the event that the EMF conference and Emya 2020 ceremony will be hosted by Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) in Cardiff next year.


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