Who won the European Museum of the Year awards this year?

Who won the European Museum of the Year awards this year?
Who won the European Museum of the Year awards this year?

The awards honored museums and leaders in categories such as inclusion, sustainability and community involvement.

The Siida Sámi Museum was awarded first prize in this year’s European Museum of the Year awards, which were presented on the final day of the EMYA2024 annual conference in Portimão, Portugal, on Saturday.

Organized by the European Museum Forum and hosted by the Municipality of Portimão, the conference was centered around a main theme: “Museums in search of social impact”.

The 2024 winner of the European Museum of the Year award, the Siida Sámi Museum, is the national museum of the Sámi people of Finland. The Sámi people – whose ancestral lands (known as Sápmi) extend across vast swaths of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia’s Kola Peninsula – constitute the only indigenous culture recognized in Europe.

The awards committee commended the Siida Sami Museum, located in the town of Inari, for its creativity, ethical conservation practices and promotion of cultural dialogue.

“The Siida Sámi Museum, as an indigenous museum, is primarily intended for the Sámi people themselves. But we are extremely happy to see how our Sámi history resonates with the entire European museum community and people around the world,” said museum director Taina Pieski in her acceptance speech.

Other museums awarded include the Sybir Memorial Museum in Białystok, Poland, which won the Council of Europe Museum Prize – awarded to a museum that has made a significant contribution to the defense of human rights and of democratic citizenship. The museum tells the story of Polish citizens deported to the Soviet Union during World War II and has been praised for its “ability to convey history through workshops, events, media, publications and new formats “.

When it came to community engagement, the Kalamaja Museum, located in the Estonian capital Tallinn, came out on top. The relatively small museum, which tells the history of the old Kalamaja district and was co-created and run with the local community, won the Silletto Prize for Community Participation and Engagement.

The Portimão Museum Award for Welcoming, Inclusion and Belonging, which celebrates a “friendly atmosphere of inclusion”, was awarded to the Salt Museum in the Greek city of Missolonghi. The harvest of sea salt in the Missolonghi Lagoon dates back to at least the 14th century, and this story is presented with “heart, humility and a dominant desire to make a difference” at the museum, according to the awards committee.

In terms of environmental credentials, London’s Museum of the Home was second to none, receiving the Meyvaert Museum Prize for Environmental Sustainability for its engagement with diverse audiences on sustainability issues.

Besides museums, the awards also honor individuals. Ihor Poshyvailo, who directs the Maidan Museum in Ukraine, won the Kenneth Hudson Award for Institutional Courage and Professional Integrity for his “unwavering commitment to preserving Ukraine’s cultural heritage amid the ravages of war.”

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