The award has been given annually since 1977 by the European Museum Forum, which acts under the auspices of the Council of Europe.
Apart from the prestigious title, the winning museum receives ‘The Egg’ by celebrated sculptor Henry Moore as a trophy which it keeps for one year.
It was collected by the Director of the POLIN Museum Dariusz Stola at a ceremony in San Sebastian on Saturday, 9 April.
Situated on the terrain of the former Warsaw Jewish Ghetto that the was created by the Nazi German occupiers, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews documents 1000 years of the history of Polish Jews and their contribution to various aspects of Polish political, economic and cultural life.
The citation for the award speaks of the POLIN Museum’s highly imaginative interpretation and presentation of the common history of Jews and Poles, as well as its creative approach to education and civic responsibility.
Solidarity centre also awarded
There were two other Polish nominees among a total of forty nine museums from 24 countries - the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk and the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw.
The former received the 2016 Council of Europe Museum Prize, which is decided on the basis of a shortlist presented by a jury of the European Museum Forum, and forms part of the European Museum of the Year Awards.
According to the Council of Europe press release the European Solidarity Centre is “a fascinating example of a cultural institution working to promote freedom and solidarity.
“The events it recounts and its programme make it a forum for modern Europe. It succeeds in making the history of the trade union Solidarność (Solidarity) a powerful and moving source of inspiration for civic engagement and action. The Centre connects history with life and makes a direct link between culture and democracy. Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, thoughts are returning of building new walls. The European Solidarity Centre’s aim is to provide factual back-up for organisations working for the common good, freedom and human rights”.
Located in the neighbourhood of the Gdańsk shipyard, the cradle of the Solidarity movement, the Centre is an educational, research and academic institution comprising an archive, a library, conference facilities and offices of several NGOs. (mk/nh)