EMYA 2007: A great event for European museums in Alicante


The European Museum of the Year Award, organised by the European Museum Forum, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, with a Presentation Ceremony and associated activities based at various venues in Alicante, Spain, hosted by MARQ Museo Arqueológico Provincial de Alicante and local sponsoring organisations. 

The 2007 Awards were announced on Saturday 5 May, during a ceremony attended by more than 150 people from 28 European countries at MARQ Museo Arqueológico Provincial de Alicante, followed by a Gala Dinner at the Estación Maritima of the Port of Alicante.  The winners were announced by Sir Neil Cossons, EMF’s President and presented by the Forum’s Patron, Her Majesty Queen Fabiola of Belgium.

The results of the 2007 Awards are as follows: 

The Micheletti Award for the most promising technical or industrial museum among the current year’s candidates goes to Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol, U.K.  This project was judged to be an outstanding achievement by a privately financed Trust.  The daring decision to bring a rusting hulk from the Falkland Islands to Bristol, followed by a major study to find the best solution for its preservation was a huge task in itself.  The subsequent preservation, reconstruction and interpretation of the vessel has transcended all expectations and with its associated museum telling the story of the ship in reverse time order in historical, cultural and technical terms, visitors are provided with a unique experience.  The installation of lifts within the ship’s funnel makes accessibility available to all, which is rare aboard a historic ship. 

The Council of Europe Award, a bronze statuette by Miró, goes to the International Museum of the Reformation in Geneva, Switzerland, as the first and only museum dealing with the subject of the Reformation in Europe.  Focused on Calvin, it deals with other figures such as Martin Luther, and covers historic events going well beyond Geneva.  The museum has close relationships with museums, research institutions and universities in other countries and its publications on the history of the Reformation are of outstanding quality.  Theological discourse is brought into the exhibition and although it is dedicated to one particular branch of Christianity, the museum demonstrates a high level of religious tolerance. This award was presented at a separate ceremony in Strasbourg on 17 April 2007.  

The 2007 European Museum of the Year Award is given to the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven.  This stylish museum, in a purpose-built building on the site of the dock from which more than seven million emigrants from Germany and Eastern Europe departed, pays tribute to those who left for a variety of reasons, bound for the New World.  Theatrical techniques and effective multimedia installations transport the visitor from dock to ship and eventually to shore, experiencing the uncertainty of the emigrants’ arrival in the Promised Land.  The Gallery of Seven Million, containing documentation on all the emigrants from the port, leads visitors towards a substantial modern research section, where they have the opportunity to follow their own lines of enquiry right up to the present day.  Excellent visitor facilities are matched by a willingness and ability to cope with large numbers, as indicated by the average length of time for a visit.  With its package of qualities, this is a worthy winner for EMYA’s 30th anniversary year.

Specially commended


Museum of the Bresse Region, Saint-Cyr-sur-Menthon, France

The Dolhuys: Museum of Psychiatry, Haarlem, The Netherlands

The Railway Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Paul Klee Centre, Bern, Switzerland


These four museums received a special diploma recognising their excellence in conception, innovative approach to interpretation and attention to the needs of their visitors.

During the two days of public interviews before the Ceremony, those museums which had passed the first stage of the judging each received a certificate in recognition of their innovatory achievements.  The full list of these museums can be seen on the website of the European Museum Forum.



The European Museum Forum: what it is and what it does


The Forum is responsible to the European Museum Forum Trust, a charity registered in the United Kingdom (282158), and operating under the auspices of the Council of Europe.  In addition to holding the European Museum of the Year Award, it organises Museum Workshops at different places in Europe, publishes a quarterly bulletin and runs an advisory and consultancy service.


Its day-to-day operation is controlled by an international committee, composed of men and women influential in the museum and cultural fields and it is a wholly independent body, deriving its income from membership and entrance fees and various forms of sponsorship.  It considers that its main duty is to the public, but it maintains good relations with both national and international professional organisations.


The candidates for its Award are new museums, established within the past two or three years, and older museums which have been completely reorganised during the same period.  It receives applications from between 50 and 60 candidates a year, all of whom receive assessment visits from members of the Forum’s judging committee, who constitute a European flying squad, which goes from country to country encouraging, comforting, criticising and offering practical advice.  This is something new and unique in the museum world.  So far more than 1500 museums in 40 countries have taken part in the EMYA scheme.


The Forum considers itself to be European in the most profound sense of the word, a focus of cultural understanding.  Its opinions are expressed in plain terms, and its aim each year, in selecting the European Museum of the Year, is to discover and publicise a museum which has succeeded outstandingly well in dealing with the problems that are facing museums everywhere, problems of imagination, money, staff morale, bureaucracy, integrity and professional pride, taste, social responsibility and planning for the future.


For more information please visit www.europeanmuseumforum.org or contact Ann Nicholls on [email protected]; telephone 0044 117 923 8897; fax 0044 117 973 2437.