The European Museum of the Year Award
This is the oldest and most prestigious museum award in Europe. It goes to a museum which demonstrates excellence across all aspects of its functions, but especially in public quality – the way it welcomes and engages visitors with a unique atmosphere, imaginative interpretation and presentation, and a creative approach to education and social responsibility. Past winners have been both large and small museums, but all developed something which was special and changed the standards of public quality in museums within Europe.
The Council of Europe Museum Prize
This prestigious prize is awarded, based on the recommendations of the EMYA Jury, by the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It goes to a museum which puts particular emphasis on a European perspective and on the interplay between local and European identities, working with themes of European relevance, bridging cultures, overcoming social and political borders, and embodying the key values of the Council of Europe – democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
The Kenneth Hudson Award
This is an award in honour of the founder of EMYA. The award goes to a museum, person, project or a group of people who have demonstrated the most unusual, daring and, perhaps, controversial achievement that challenges common perceptions of the role of museum in the society and carries forward the spirit of Kenneth Hudson. The Kenneth Hudson Award winner is chosen by the EMF Board of Trustees, and is not necessarily selected from the pool of the EMYA applicants.
The Silletto Prize
This prize is sponsored by the Silletto Foundation based in the Isle of Man and goes to a museum which has in the past three years demonstrated excellence in involving its local community in planning and developing museum and heritage projects or has attracted outstanding support from its work with volunteers with the goal to enhance the public quality of the museum.
The Portimão Museum Prize – Europe’s Most Welcoming Museum
One of people’s deepest intuitions is to know whether they are welcome. The main quality the Prize celebrates is a general, friendly atmosphere of welcome. 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.
This prize is sponsored by the Municipality of Portimao, Portugal. Portimão is committed to democratic access to culture (reflected in the Council of Europe Museum Prize being awarded to Portimão Museum in 2010) and welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
A number of special awards will also be given to museums that have developed a new and innovative aspect of their public service and from which other European museums can learn. In 2018, a Special Commendation for Sustainability in Museums will be offered by Meyvaert Glass Engineering. Other Special Commendations are open-ended.