HIGH-PROFILE EUROPEAN AWARD
The most important recognition of excellence for museums in Europe, the European Museum of the Year Award has been presented every year since 1977 by the 'European Museum Forum', a Council of Europe organisation.
Museums may compete only if they offer their visitors an exceptional level of quality and have adopted an innovative approach. Museums that have been recently renovated or modernised are eligible.
Museum of Art and History, Saint-Denis, France (1982), National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark (1994), Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (2000), Victoria and Albert Museum: British Galleries, London, United Kingdom (2003), The National Heritage Museum, Arnhem, Netherlands (2005), Riverside Museum: Scotland's Museum of Transport and Travel, Glasgow, Scotland (2013).
A whole process has to be completed prior to the award ceremony. The Gallo-Roman Museum put itself forward as a candidate in 2010. In the autumn of the same year the judging panel members paid a visit to the permanent exhibition. They observed the visitors and spoke with the management team. In November 2010, the board nominated 34 museums from 15 European countries for the top award.
On 21 May 2012 the panel, meeting in Bremerhaven, Germany, announced that the 2011 award had been won by the Gallo-Roman Museum. The panel praised the museum for the excellent way the world of the distant past had been made exciting for all kinds of visitors, without ever being too pedantic.
A few conclusions from the panel report.
"The museum does not shy away from the task of dealing with the uncertainty, and the presentations guide the audience through the issues but do not assert firm conclusions. The exhibitions are authoritative but not authoritarian. They provoke thought and provide the visitor with the information needed to take a view." "The museum is socially engaged not just with issues of heritage but also with its role in the local economy and in its commitment to education for which it has provided excellent facilities and for which it works with a large number of teachers who are employed by the museum. The integration with the town of Tongeren is strong - the museum is a meeting place available to all citizens' groups."