Best Slavic Museums

Živa award 2023

National Museum in Leskovac/Serbia

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Jury justification
“The Museum has recently done amazing work in repositioning itself within the region as a complex institution, recording the rich history and heritage through diverse valuable collections of the area by transmitting it to the wider community and beyond, paying special attention to the youth, people with special needs and to education.
The museum affirms the cultural treasure of the region under the slogan ‘Present your history to protect it.’ By promoting and communicating it through the new permanent exhibition and a host of events, it visibly contributes to the overall sustainable development of the area as well as encouraging people’s awareness of belonging to the city. It is thus seen as a guardian, a protector and an interpreter of cultural heritage, but even more as an indispensable actor in contemporary social movements – in every sense – in the south of the country.”

Živa Award 2022

Virovitica City Museum/Croatia

Jury justification
“Finding the way to make a museum the best is not easy – or perhaps it is. This city museum found the answer to the challenge in a combination of determination,
knowledge, ideas, and above all the opportunity and the will to create something different and special.
The institution has managed to combine all these principles into an excellent concept to complement and highlight its social role in protection and promotion of the
local cultural heritage by emphasising universal natural and cultural values, thus becoming an exceptional one.
Regional and city museums are often faced with the question of how to present the history of the territory, the peoples living within its borders from ancient times to
the present day, and how to reveal their testimonies, which unite and identify them in sharing pride in and the memory of the past.
This museum has discovered its theme, its object, its material, closely connected with the history of the region and with all mankind, with life on Earth and at the
present time with the joint human responsibility against its exploitation. The material in question is wood. This represents the essence of the content the museum has
created and transferred in an up-to-date way into a comprehensive story and a uniquely engaging exhibition project – a great attraction to the large number of visitors
to both the physical museum and the virtual one.”

Živa Award 2020

Woodcarving Museum, Konjic/Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ziva 2020 Award Ceremony
Jury justification
“The museum, established in 2019 upon a family initiative and with the support of the local community, is an exemplary private museum of local and regional importance.
It presents and contributes to the safeguarding and valorisation of the woodcarving tradition and craftsmen’s skills, a priceless intangible element of local cultural heritage.
It is an engaged custodian of woodcarving skills, and their handing down to succeeding generations. Its development is focused on sustainable principles, strengthening
environmental, social, economic and cultural responsibilities. It successfully fosters the community’s economic and social development, and boosts local cultural tourism.”

Živa Award 2019

State Museum of Political History of Russia, St. Petersburg/Russian Federation

Jury justification
“Throughout hundred years since the Museum’s inception and since the creation of its first historical collections, the Museum has faced many challenges. Nevertheless, its transformative power, clear institutional purpose, the professional and scholar discourse from the perspective of different disciplines on the protection of diverse collections and their acquisition, have shaped this institution into an important contemporary Museum that educates and informs the public on the history and political heritage of the country and its nations. Today, the Museum, which acts as a link between the past and the present, is becoming increasingly significant territorially, nationally and internationally in the context of the dialogue on the meaning of history and memory for generations to come.”

Živa Award 2018

Emigration Museum in Gdynia, Gdynia/Poland

Jury justification
“Housed in the renovated historical building of the Marine Station by the sea at the heart of the port, where some of the largest ocean liners are moored today, the new museum projects a vivid image of the time when passenger ships carried over the ocean hundreds of thousands of people leaving their homeland in search of a better life.
This creates a powerful first impression of the museum and introduces its multifaceted account of countless human fates, stories and unprecedented experiences. The museum delivers a narration in a comprehensive manner about the country’s emigrants, dispersed all over the world, shaping the public’s understanding of its national past and defining the nation’s cultural identity and consciousness.

Živa Award 2017

Slovenian Alpine Museum

Jury justification
“A captivating museum scenario, the closeness of the unspoilt beauty of natural Alpine wonders, and the museum organization is impressive. So is the well-conceived permanent exhibition that develops in eleven thematic units different exciting stories by combining authentic objects with highly interactive and playful content.
Every part of the exhibition is designed in a contemporary museological way to involve, engage, and influence various target groups through awakening the virtual experience of a climb up the mountains, an interest in mountains, mountaineering joys and dangers, tradition and much more. The exciting permanent exhibition carrying the message “each path is a story of its own” is enhanced by an innovative architectural design suggesting mountain slopes and the shelters of Alpinists.
Successful collaboration with tourist organizations and various domestic and foreign associations of mountaineers has brought trans-frontier popularity to the museum that houses an information centre and is a starting point for climbers and hikers, as well as other sports and cultural activities. The museum encapsulates and explores in a vivid and original way almost all facets of the Alpine spirit and life – a subject with a universal dimension – while being inextricably linked to the affirmation and promotion of Alpine identity. The museum is dedicated to and cultivates sustainable respect for the cultural and natural uniqueness of the Alpine world and life.
The Jury unanimously agreed that the museum meets all the standards for the Živa Award, protecting and valorizing tangible and intangible, natural and cultural heritage as a whole.”

Živa Award 2016

Cricoteka – Centre for Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor, Kraków/Poland

Jury justification
“The jury unanimously recognized the special spirit and excellence of an interdisciplinary institution, of a new contemporary art and documentation centre with intriguing architecture where an archive, objects, theatre, art and contemporary culture are blended in an effective way.
The main purpose of the institution is to preserve and share ideas “not in a Library system, but in the minds and imaginations of generations to come.”
The institution is a socially engaged and responsible museum for today and tomorrow that contributes to the protection of cultural heritage at the international level. The museum is a symbol of the artistic search for an individual path to creativity, crossing the dividing Line between the actor and the audience, between the creator and the recipient; it engages everyone in an activity game – a collective play. The museum space constitutes both the stage and the audience; it is a venue for constant performances. Its value Lies in erasing the borders between inside and outside. The creator, the artist, residents and visitors all take an active part in the process of creating space, which can be shaped and expressed in a museological way through selected objects, structures, means and methods.

Živa Award 2015

The State Memorial and Natural Preserve “Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy Yasnaya Polyana”, Yasnaya Polyana/Russian Federation

Jury justification
“The museum contributes to the sustainable environmental development, tradition and the name of the extraordinary man by spinning together movable, unmovable, tangible and intangible heritage; nature, man and culture into a huge cultural landscape and a complex visitor experience. The institution is a socially engaged and responsible museum that contributes to protection of cultural and natural heritage in the regional, national and international level.”

Živa Award 2014

The Gallery of Matica Srpska, Novi Sad/Serbia

Jury justification 
“The general atmosphere is excellent. They rely on team work and their mutual creative energy. Multimedia is on a high level. Publications and promotion materials meet high standards. The museum contributes to the development of museological ideas in a best possible way by respecting professional standards a being a source of fresh ideas and innovative concepts. The director has a strategy to assemble the team and to open the doors to the audiences, especially to the young generation. This has been an act of courage, that pays off nowadays. Services offered to the public are on an international level. This is still again very unique in Serbia. The Matica Srpska is the example which proves that the director and the team can be recognized at the entrance of the museum.”
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