Micropia wins prize for most innovative and groundbreaking museum of Europe

jury praises uniqueness and originality of world’s only microbe museum – April 10, 2016

Yesterday evening, Micropia was awarded for most innovative museum by European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA). The ceremony took place in San Sebastián, Spain. From among 49 nominees, Micropia was selected for the highest recognition, the Kenneth Hudson Award. The judges about Micropia: “It’s an unique and original museum presenting, in an elegant and engaging exhibition, the world of microbial life. The museum excels for high design value, effective management, and partnerships, charismatic leadership, and groundbreaking developments in display and communication.”

Micropia is also a platform, a link between the scientific community and the public. In this way, Micropia reflects the growing importance of biotechnology and life sciences.

Microbe museum

The jury award was presented to Eveline Hensel, director of Micropia. 'We are deeply honoured by this international recognition. Micropia has been attracting attention from across the globe since its opening in late 2014. Revealing the invisible life of microbes to museum visitors, and getting the general public excited about the most powerful form of life on Earth , has always been the purpose behind Micropia. It is fantastic that the museum has been recognised internationally once again. We hope this jury prize will encourage even more individuals to pay a visit to Micropia in the future.'

Creator of Micropia, and director of Natura Artis Magistra, Haig Balian: ‘From concept to realisation, it took 12.5 years to get the idea of Micropia to bear fruit and become the museum as you see it today. With Micropia, we have added a new chapter to our tradition of collecting, exhibiting and experiencing the natural world. Understanding the interrelatedness found in nature is simply not possible without a knowledge of micro-organisms. It is wonderful to see this fact acknowledged. After a visit to Micropia, you will never look at the world – or yourself – in the same way again.'

European Museum of the Year

The European Museum Forum, a body under the aegis of the Council of Europe, has been awarding the European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) annually since 1977. Several special prizes were awarded as well like the Kenneth Hudson Award for most innovative museum of Europe.

From interactive exhibits to a soundscape

In creating the exhibition design studio  Kossmann.deJong  worked in close collaboration with  ART+COM , a Berlinbased media design firm. Lots of Micropia’s exhibits are interactive, although the designers were at pains not to make things interactive just for the sake of it. Mark de Jong, owner of Kossman.dejong: “Interactivity has to add something to the experience and not distract from the content.” The ART+COM designers point to the body scan as a successful example of this. The visitor not only works the interface in this exhibit but is also the subject of it. The soundscape which fills the space is an important unifying factor. Sound designer Peter Flamman makes use of analogue noises to give the visitor the idea that he or she is entering an unknown and amazing world.

International awards

Since it opened in 2014, Micropia has received numerous international nominations and awards . Micropia was one of the honorees in the Exhibition category of the American Best of Year (BOY) International Interior Design Awards in 2015. In that same year, Micropia made off with the special jury prize of the prestigious British Museum + Heritage Awards. Earlier this year, Micropia was awarded the jury prize for exhibition design during the German Design Award event.