COUNCIL OF EUROPE MUSEUM PRIZE 2016

The European Solidarity Centre is the only museum in Poland honoured with THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE MUSEUM PRIZE (2016), which has been awarded annually for 40 years to museums that have made significant contributions to the understanding of Europe’s cultural heritage. According to the jury of the prize, the ECS is "a fascinating example of a cultural institution working to promote freedom and solidarity" and "the events it recounts and its programme make it a forum for contemporary Europe."

Strong competition
The prize forms part of the European Museum of the Year Awards and its winner is selected from a shortlist presented by a jury representing the European Museum Forum. The competition has a multistage selection process. In December 2015, the ECS was visited by an anonymous reviewer—member of the jury—who gave the place a comprehensive assessment: from the quality of the exhibition, through the amenities and functionality of the building, guest service, as well as projects conducted here. The verdict was a great joy for us. According to the jury, the ECS "succeeds in making the history of the trade union Solidarność 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. As the jury noted—"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."

Miroslawa
The winner of the prize is presented with a bronze statuette, "La femme aux beaux seins" ("Woman with a beautiful bust") (1969) by Joan Miró (1893-1983), which the museum keeps for a year, together with a diploma. "Woman with a beautiful bust" has received a traditional Polish name of Mirosława, in a friendly diminutive Mirka, which not only refers to the name of the creator, but also proclaims two values that contributed to its sound: "miro" (peace, goodness) and "sława" (fame). 
How did it happen that the work of the Catalan artist Joan Miró stands as a proof of the laurels of the THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE MUSEUM PRIZE? The answer is simple—Joan Miró Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, was the first institution in history to receive THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE MUSEUM PRIZE in 1977.

Farewell
It was with great regret that we said goodbye to Mirka on the 21st of April 2017, sending her to the next winner of THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE MUSEUM PRIZE. The Memorial ACTe, a cultural centre dedicated to the Memory and History of Slavery Trade located in Guadeloupe, a French overseas department in Central America, took over the prize in Strasburg on the 26th of April 2017.
The title of THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE MUSEUM PRIZE 2016 will forever remain with the European Solidarity Centre.


fot. Dawid Linkowski, Grzegorz Mehring, Magdalena Mistat, Katarzyna Granacka / Archiwum ECS
fot. Roman Daszczyński / gdansk.pl