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2012 Penafiel, Portugal

The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA), organised by the European Museum Forum (EMF), celebrated its 35th anniversary this year, with the 2012 Award Ceremony hosted by the City of Penafiel, Portugal.

The 2012 Awards were announced on 19 May, Saturday, during a ceremony held in the Penafiel Municipal Museum. The ceremony was opened by Alberto Santos, Mayor of Penafiel, and Francisco José EMYA golden logoViegas, Secretary of State for Culture, Portugal, and attended by over 200 people from 24 European countries.

The EMYA Judging Panel was delighted to announce the Museo de Madinat al-Zahra in Cordoba in Spain as the European Museum of the Year 2012 for its outstanding achievements for public quality and excellence. The museum has also received a trophy: The Egg by Henry Moore, which it will keep for one year.

The Museum encompasses the important archaeological site of the 10th century capital for Muslim al-Andalus and a new museum building that serves as a research centre, visible storage, conservation and restoration facility, and as a space for exhibition and interpretation of a unique collection. The museum and the partially recovered and restored site document a magnificent, complex city, its supporting infrastructure, buildings and gardens, as well as the social organisation and everyday life of its 10,000 inhabitants.

The Madinat al-Zahra Museum functions as a visual memory of the mixed and plural past of Andalusia, and thereby as a potential bridge between different cultures also in contemporary Europe. In every aspect of its work this museum displays a high level of excellence.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize 2012 goes to the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum – Kulturen der Welt Cultures of the World in Cologne, Germany.

Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum–kulturen der welt Indian Sunday

The Silletto Prize for the work with local community and involvement of volunteers winner - TOPIC: the International Puppet Museum Centre, Tolosa, Spain.

The museum has managed, through the magic of puppetry, to open a window on the world for a small city community. The museum has created an enchanted, enchanting and playful world, animated by thousands of different voices. Powered by imagination of its creators and spectators, puppet becomes a living being, not just a doll, in TOPIC; and the ‘artificial’ world becomes a ‘real’ world, which is a basic task all museums are trying to accomplish.

Combining documentation, research, exhibition, education, live performance and worldwide networking, TOPIC appeals to both kids and grown-ups, as well as to the special audiences, who have become its grateful public but also the active participants and volunteers in its programmes and events. People of different ages and backgrounds find the work with TOPIC fulfilling and feel that through the museum they can make a contribution to the culture of their town and their region.

The Kenneth Hudson Award for the most unusual, daring and, sometimes, controversial achievement that challenges common perceptions of the role of museums in society went to the Glasnevin Museum in Dublin, Ireland.

The purpose-built, glass-walled museum overlooking Glasnevin Cemetery was opened in 2010 by the not-for-profit Glasnevin Trust to enrich visitors' experience of the cemetery and their knowledge and understanding of Irish history through the lives of the leading public figures buried there.

The museum transforms public perception of cemeteries, and has turned an unexpected place into a vibrant historically informative experience about life and lives. This museum is out of the ordinary and its creators have put the public firmly at the heart of their endeavour.

The following museums have received Special Commendations The EMYA 2012 Judging Panel:

Audax Textielmuseum, Tilburg, The Netherlands – for the creation of a unique combination of a museum, laboratory and academy in a single institution, based on three pillars: heritage, design and innovation;

The Museum of a Disappeared Taste – Kolomna Pastilla
, Kolomna, Russia – for its placing so intangible a part of the heritage as flavours at the centre of its activity;

The Museum of Prijepolje, Serbia – for developing museum and heritage projects in a complicated, complex and delicate political and cultural environment, involving four ethnic and two religious groups;

The People’s History Museum in Manchester, UK – for its excellence and creativity in making quite a complex theme – the history of working people in Britain and the struggle for democracy – accessible and appealing to a wide international audience.


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EMYA Awards 2011 brochure (PDF)


EMYA Awards 2012 brochure (PDF)

EMYA Awards 2012 Press Release (PDF)


More information www.emya2012.com







Museums nominated for the European Museum of the Year 2012 Award

Muzej krapinskih neandertalaca Kraneamus

Kraneamus: Krapina Neanderthal Museum, Krapina, Croatia

NUKU muuseum

NUKU Museum of Puppetry, Tallinn, Estonia

Paléospace l'Odyssée

Paleospace Odyssey, Villers-sur-Mer, France

Das Bach-Museum Leipzig

Bach Museum, Leipzig, Germany

DDR Museum

DDR Museum, Berlin, Germany

Erinnerungs- und Gedenkstätte Wewelsburg 1933–1945, Kreismuseum Wewelsburg

Wewelsburg 1933-1945 Memorial Museum, Büren-Wewelsburg, Germany

Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Kulturen der Welt

Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Kulturen der Welt, Cologne, Germany

Ruhr Museum

Ruhr Museum, Essen, Germany

Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Ιωαννίνων

Ioannina Archaeological Museum, Greece

Μουσείο Νίκου Καζαντζάκη

Nikos Kazantzakis Museum, Heraklion, Greece

Glasnevin Museum

Glasnevin Museum, Dublin, Ireland

MuseumPasseier–Andreas Hofer

Museum Passeier-Andreas Hofer, St. Leonhard in Passeier, Italy

MUST: museo del territorio vimercatese

MUST: Vimercatese District Museum, Vimercate, Italy

Audax Textielmuseum Tilburg

Audax Textile Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands

Dordrechts Museum

Dordrecht Museum, Netherlands

Humanity House

Humanity House, The Hague, Netherlands


Children’s Book Museum, The Hague, Netherlands

Nationaal Glasmuseum

National Glass Museum, Leerdam, Netherlands

Zaans Museum & Verkade Paviljoen

Zaans Museum & Verkade Pavilion, Zaandam, Netherlands

Rockheim: Det nasjonale opplevesessenteret for pop og rock

Centro de Interpretação do Vulcão dos Capelinhos

Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre, Faial Island, Azores, Portugal

Museu do Côa

Côa Museum, Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Portugal

Hotel-Museu Convento São Paulo

São Paulo Convent Museum-Hotel, Redondo, Portugal

Государственный литературно-мемориальный музей-заповедник А.П. Чехова

Chekhov Memorial Museum–Reserve, Melikhovo, Russia

Музей истории Екатеринбурга

Ekaterinburg History Museum, Ekaterinburg, Russia

Музей исчезнувшего вкуса «Коломенская пастила»

Kolomna pastila: Museum of a Disappeared Taste, Kolomna, Russia

Фермерский дворец, Государственный музей-заповедник «Петергоф»

Farm Palace, Peterhof Museum-Reserve, St. Petersburg, Russia

Музеј у Пријепољу

Museum in Prijepolje, Prijepolje, Serbia

Slovenski planinski muzej

Slovenian Alpine Museum, Mojstrana, Slovenia

Museo de la Evolución Humana

Human Evolution Museum, Burgos, Spain

Museo de Madinat al-Zahra

Madinat al-Zahra Museum, Cordoba, Spain

TOPIC: Museo Internacional del Títere de Tolosa

Topic: International Puppet Museum, Tolosa, Spain


Swedish Air Force Museum, Linköping, Sweden

Naturmuseum Thurgau

Thurgau Natural History Museum, Frauenfeld, Switzerland

Kaman-Kalehöyük Arkeoloji Müzesi

Kaman-Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum, Kırşehir, Turkey

Музей історії «Шахтаря»

Shaktar FC Museum, Donetsk, Ukraine

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Oxford, United Kingdom

The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Kent, United Kingdom

Kensington Palace

London, United Kingdom

MOSI Museum of Science and Industry

Manchester, United Kingdom

Museum of London

London, United Kingdom

People’s History Museum

Manchester, United Kingdom

The Polar Museum

Cambridge, United Kingdom

The Roman Baths

Bath, United Kingdom

Yorkshire Museum EMYA Logo

York, United Kingdom

M Shed

Bristol, United Kingdom

download the list (pdf)