It's over 100 years old and holds more than 100,000 ethnographical objects from around the world. Geneva's museum of ethnography has won the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award.
Boris Wastiau, director of the Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève (MEG), accepted the European Museum of the Year Award, known as the EMYA, at a ceremony this past weekend. The EMYA trophy, a sculpture by Henry Moore entitled "The Egg," goes on loan to the winning museum for one year before being passed on to the following year's title holder.
The MEG is considered one of the most significant ethnographical museums in Switzerland. After four years of reconstruction, it was reopened on October 31, 2014 - more than 100 years after it was first founded in 1901. The jury hailed the museum as an "excellent example of a living museum."
Thanks to its reconstruction, it now addresses visitors in a modern and appealing way, while making its entire ethnological collection accessible online and thus to a worldwide audience, the jury stated. This approach was based on the museum's conviction that the heritage of diverse cultures deserves to be protected and be made accessible to as many people as possible.
EMYA - a sought-after prize
The EMYA is one of the most prestigious museum awards in Europe. Since 1977, the prize has been handed out annually by the European Museum Forum either to a recently reopened museum, or to a museum housing a totally modernized exhibition. The objective of the award is to promote and publicize innovative developments in the international museum scene.
Nominated are museums that welcome visitors in a special and unique way, while their size, location and public standing are not among the criteria.
Among the famous winners of the last few years are the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (2000) and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (2015). Last year, the award was won by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN) in Warsaw.