PHM deputy director Cath Birchall, second from right, accepts a special commendation at the EMYAs in Portugal last month

PHM wins special commendation at 2012 EMYAs

Geraldine Kendall, 12.06.2012
Madinat al-Zahra Museum in Spain scooped top prize
The People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester has received a special commendation at the European Museum of the Year Awards (EMYA) 2012.
The museum, which tells the story of democracy and the labour movement in Britain, reopened in 2010 after a £12.5m redevelopment.

According to the EMYA judging panel, the PHM was recognised for its “excellence and creativity in making quite a complex theme – the history of working people in Britain and the struggle for democracy – accessible and appealing to a wide international audience”.

PHM director Katy Archer said: “This award brings the PHM to centre-stage within the European museum scene and celebrates the public quality of our work with a wide range of local communities and the impact we also have nationally and internationally.”

The museum was one of four European museums out of a shortlist of 46 to receive a special commendation at the EMYA award ceremony in Portugal last month, and the only UK institution to take home a prize.

The top award for all-round excellence, European Museum of the Year, went to the Museo de Madinat al-Zahra in Cordoba, Spain, a redeveloped museum standing at the site of an archaeologically-significant 10th century Arab Muslim citadel.

A number of other awards were also handed out at the ceremony. The Silletto Prize, which recognises community involvement, went to Spain’s International Puppet Museum Centre, while the Kenneth Hudson award, which honours work that challenges perceptions about the role of museums in society, was awarded to Glasnevin Museum in the Republic of Ireland.

Unsung heroes

Meanwhile, the ten winners of the Art Fund Prize for Unsung Museum Heroes have been unveiled in this month’s issue of Museums Journal.

The special prize, which was organised by the Museum Prize Trust, marks the tenth anniversary of the Art Fund Prize and honours staff and volunteers who have made a significant contribution to their organisation.

Winners include Pam Fry, a volunteer, trustee and friend at Cambridge & County Folk Museum and Tricia Candlish, a volunteer guide at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.

The unsung heroes have been invited to attend an award ceremony later this month at the British Museum in London, where the winner of the Art Fund Prize 2012 will also be revealed.

Read exclusive profiles of the ten unsung heroes here