CULTURE

Praise, cash prize and a Miro

The Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki has won the Council of Europe Museum Award for 2005, and will also be presented with a bronze statuette, «La femme aux beaux seins,» by Joan Miro, which the museum will put on display after Easter for a year. At a presentation ceremony scheduled in Strasbourg during the parliamentary assembly’s 2005 spring session next Tuesday, the museum’s director Anastassia Tourta will also be handed a certificate and a check for 5,000 euros by Council of Europe President Rene van der Linden. The ceremony will take place with the attendance of representatives from all 46 Council of Europe member states, as has been done since its establishment in 1997 in a drive to promote European cultural heritage. Recognition The Council of Europe Museum Award for 2005, the first ever to go to a Greek museum, is full recognition of the 10-year-old museum’s efforts to be a modern, cutting-edge display area and to develop the three most pivotal sectors to any museum, conservation, restoration and presentation, points emphasized by the jury in its decision. The museum, with displays in 11 galleries, each devoted to a specific subject, aims to communicate all aspects of life in the Byzantine era, including art and intellectual development, the organization of society, religion and everyday life. The jury also praised the museum for being «visitor-friendly» and having «an educational emphasis on children,» as well as its display on how the museum has acquired its collections and how archaeological artifacts are transformed into museum displays. It noted in particular the virtual absence of showcases, commending the illustrations of restoration work. Contribution «With this award, the Council of Europe is expressing its recognition of Byzantium’s contribution to European culture,» said Tourta to Kathimerini. «Anyway, many of the European countries participating in the Council of Europe were within the geographical boundaries of the Byzantine Empire or were in the political and cultural sphere of Byzantium.»