Museum of Liverpool Wins 2013 Council of Europe Prize

The Museum of Liverpool has been awarded the European Museum prize for 2013 by the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe Museum Prize is the most prestigious award given by the EU for outstanding achievement in the area of public galleries. fIt was presented by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

The museum traces the social, economic and political history of a city which is one of the most socially diverse in Britain. According to the Committee, the museum has an outstanding capacity to get people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities involved and promotes in a strong convincing form Council of Europe core values and the importance of ‘living together’ in dignity”.

The Museum of Liverpool provides an exemplary recognition of human rights in museum practice, the Committee underlines. The interaction with local community is excellent with numerous activities involving children, youth, families and elderly. It promotes mutual respect between ethnically and socially diverse parts of the society, addresses human rights through contemporary debates and dialogue and maintains an open and inclusive policy aimed at bridging cultures in every aspect of its work.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded annually since 1977 to a museum judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding of European cultural heritage.

The winning museum is presented with a bronze statuette, “La femme aux beaux seins” by Joan Miró, which the museum will keep for a year, as well as a diploma.

The prize is decided by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) 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. Recent winners include the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne, Germany (2012); Portimão Museum in Portugal (2010) and Zeeuws Museum in the Netherlands (2009).

The Council of Europe and the European Union share the same fundamental values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law – but are separate entities which perform different, yet complementary, roles.

Focusing on those core values, the Council of Europe brings together governments from across Europe – and beyond – to agree minimum legal standards in a wide range of areas. It then monitors how well countries apply the standards that they have chosen to sign up to. It also provides technical assistance, often working together with the European Union, to help them do so.

The European Union refers to those same European values as a key element of its deeper political and economic integration processes. It often builds upon Council of Europe standards when drawing up legal instruments and agreements which apply to its 27 member states. Furthermore, the European Union regularly refers to Council of Europe standards and monitoring work in its dealings with neighbouring countries, many of which are Council of Europe member states.

The Lisbon Treaty increased the scope for European Union action in many areas where the Council of Europe already has significant experience and expertise. This has led to increased cooperation on issues such as fighting human trafficking, the sexual exploitation of children and violence against women. It has also opened the way for the European Union itself to sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights, and to other Council of Europe agreements.

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