Cologne's Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum won the prize for its new Culturen der Welt exhibition

European museum prize goes to German institution

Geraldine Kendall, 10.01.2012
Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum wins award for ethnological exhibition
The Rautenstrauch–Joest Museum in Cologne, Germany has won the 2012 Council of Europe Museum Prize for its new exhibition on world cultures.

The ethnological institution won the prestigious award for Culturen der Welt (world cultures), a redisplay that consciously moved away from the traditional geographical presentation of objects to a more issue based interpretation.

According to the judging panel, the museum’s change of direction could set a new paradigm for interpretation of anthropology and ethnology collections worldwide.

The panel said: “The museum serves as a window on world cultures but also, and predominantly, describes how cultures are formed and how they perceive one another through exposure to one another. [It] holds up a mirror to prejudice and takes its visitors on a journey”

The Council of Europe Museum Prize has been handed out to European museums of every size or type since 1977. It is overseen by the Council of Europe in collaboration with the European Museum Forum.

The Rautenstrauch–Joest Museum is also one of 59 museums in the running for the 2012 European Museum of the Year award, which is due to be announced in May.

It joins 10 British institutions on the longlist, including M Shed in Bristol, which opened last year, and the newly renovated Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.