GULAG History Museum

GULAG History Museum, Moscow, Russian Federation

With great joy, the European Museum Forum shares the decision by the CoE on the 2021 Winner of the Council of Europe Museum Prize.

Selected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) meeting today, 5 February 2021, the Gulag History Museum (Moscow, Russian Federation) wins the prize.

Being an important part of the European Museum of the Year Award scheme, the Council of Europe Museum Prize is awarded to museums which demonstrate excellence and took a European perspective, reflecting the core values of the Council of Europe. For more information on the Council of Europe Museum Prize please visit the Awards section of our website.

The 2020 and 2021 winners in other categories will be announced at the EMYA2020 and EMYA2021 Ceremony that will take place online on 6 May 2021, 17:00 CET. More information on the EMYA2020 and EMYA2021 Ceremony can be found here.

You can read below the full announcement by the Council of Europe.

Museum's volunteer Arina Koledova visiting M.Y. Boyarskaya, victim of the political repression © GULAG History Museum



On behalf of the GULAG History Museum team I would like to thank the Council of Europe for the prestigious prize. The recognition from international museum community encourages us to continue carrying out the mission that we have projected for our institution - telling the history of the mass repression and thus encouraging reflection on the value of human life.

It is with great sorrow we have all been following the news on how the pandemic has affected lives of millions of people. As we all know, many cultural institutions were forced to dismiss members of staff, sell valuable pieces from their collections and overall rethink their plans. So the prize of the Council of Europe is even more valuable for us in the time when we all have to collaborate and reinvent our role for the community.

Roman Romanov, Director of the GULAG History Museum (Moscow, Russia)

Museum's expedition to the Butugychag Uranium camp (Magadan Oblast) in 2015


05/02/2021 Culture, Science, Education and Media

The 2021 Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded to Gulag History Museum (Moscow, Russian Federation). The museum was selected by the Culture Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) meeting today.

The Gulag History Museum documents mass repression and advocates for political freedom. As a human rights museum, it has a dual focus on the crimes of the state and the fate of its citizens, with an emphasis on how the victims maintained their dignity under dehumanising conditions. The museum’s programmes are designed to expose history and activate memory, with the goal of strengthening the resilience of civil society and its resistance to political repression and violation of human rights today and in the future.

According to committee representative for the Museum Prize, Roberto Rampi (Italy, SOC), “the Gulag History Museum tackles with rare honesty some of the very difficult issues about human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the 20th century, while establishing clear links with the challenging democratic and human rights issues we face today in Europe. This museum can serve as a model to other museums in Europe to create a well-documented and moving memory of the past and stimulate reflection on democratic citizenship, particularly for younger generations.”

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 promotion of respect for human rights and democracy, bridging cultures, overcoming social and political borders, broadening visitors' knowledge and understanding of contemporary societal issues and exploring ideas of democratic citizenship.

The prize forms part of the European Museum of the Year Awards. Recent winners of the prize include the National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves” in Tirana, Albania (2020), the Museum of Communication in Bern, Switzerland (2019) and the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2018).

Source: The Gulag History Museum (Moscow, Russian Federation) wins 2021 Museum Prize