The 2024 Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded to Sybir Memorial Museum (Bialystok, Poland). The museum was selected by the Culture Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting today.
Sybir Memorial Museum tells the story of successive deportations of people from Poland to Siberia, northern Russia and Kazakhstan during the Soviet occupation and the division of Poland in the period 1940-41, the deportation of Jews to extermination camps during the Nazi regime, and deportations from Poland during the communist period of the Soviet Union after the Second World War until 1952.
According to the committee representative for the Museum Prize, Constantinos Efstathiou (Cyprus, SOC): “The museum works with the strong narrative of deportation, reducing research-based material to the essentials, working with strong spatial images that give a voice to the selected authentic objects. The museum’s ability to convey history through workshops, events, media, publications and new formats is impressive and brings it to a broad audience.”
The Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded annually since 1977 to a museum judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding of European cultural heritage, the promotion of respect for human rights and democracy, bridging cultures, overcoming social and political borders, broadening visitors' knowledge and understanding of contemporary societal issues and exploring ideas of democratic citizenship.
The prize forms part of the European Museum of the Year Awards. Recent winners of the prize include the Workers Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark (2023), Nano Nagle Place in Cork, Ireland (2022), and the Gulag History Museum in Moscow, Russian Federation (2021).
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The European Museum Forum (EMF), acting under the auspices of the Council of Europe, has organised the prize since its inception. The EMF is the independent, non-profit and voluntary association, registered in the United Kingdom, which awards the European Museum of the Year Prize (also created in 1977). The EMF is: