Bolnisi Museum among European Museum of the Year nominees

The museum's exhibitions include items on the history of the first hominins, ancient metallurgy and stone inscriptions. Photo via Georgian National Museum., 08 Dec 2021 - 16:11, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Bolnisi Museum, a Georgian National Museum network venue unveiled last year, is now a contender for the 2022 European Museum of the Year Award, after the GNM's "model of the 21st century regional museum" in a historical town in the country south was selected among nominees for the prize.

Nominees for the next awards were selected by the jury panel of European Museum Forum-organised prize at their recent meeting in November, and the Bolnisi venue, where wraps came off in May 2020 after years of construction work, was confirmed among them.

The nomination marks the recognition of the museum by the EMYA award hosts as qualifying for their "excellence and innovation in the museum field" in Europe, a basis that has served the prize since its inception in 1977 under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

The GNM network has summarised the Bolnisi Museum as a "new ecosystem [...] where different segments such as science, culture, education, and tourism coexist in one space". The principle is used to mark venues built or adapted to the "21st century regional museum" concept for the network.

One of the halls of the new museum illustrates the legacy of the German settlers in the province starting in the 1910s. Photo via Georgian National Museum.

Built based on a project by Gaga Kiknadze of, its spaces were structured as a result of work involving GNM professionals and "leading European institutions", with a permanent exhibition area housing natural and historical collections concerning the region, with a specific hall created for the history of 19th century German settlers in the Kvemo Kartli province.

Devised in a collaborative effort involving Georgian professionals and their colleagues from a number of German institutions and the University of Toronto, the nuseum is seen by the GNM as a "cultural hub" for locals.

The ceremony for revealing the EMYA winner is set to be hosted in Tartu, Estonia by the Estonian National Museum between May 4-7. Previous winners in categories of the prize include the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in Leiden, the Netherlands, The Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, Turkey, and the Alta Museum in Alta, Norway.

Georgia was first featured in the awards with a nomination of the GNM network's Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography in 2016. Last year, the Art Palace museum in Tbilisi was nominated for the prize.