The Council of Europe Museum Prize 2012 goes to the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum – Kulturen der Welt
The Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum is a century-old institution that has recently moved to a new building and has developed a groundbreaking new exhibition on World Cultures. Looking for a new mode of presenting its rich collections, the museum has rejected the traditional geographic division of content and has opted instead for a thematic presentation. As a result, new content, interpretation and design solutions have been developed that open up new possibilities and set a new paradigm for museums of anthropology and ethnology worldwide.
As the Judges of the European Museum of the Year 2012 Panel have observed, ‘the museum demonstrates its commitment to serve its multicultural public – adults and children alike – both in its exhibitions and in numerous festivals and educational activities. All visitors will find something to admire and reflect upon. 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. The museum holds up a mirror to prejudice and takes its visitors on a journey, which is simultaneously beautiful, exciting, clever and sophisticated. The museum maintains an open and inclusive policy, aimed at bridging cultures and transcending social and political borders. Its creative use of cutting-edge information and communication technology establishes the conditions necessary to ensure access by the widest public possible’.