They say that the moment when an Oscar winner lifts their statuette into the air is significantly tenser than when the announcer says: “And the nominees for the Oscar are…” In those few seconds both those who will at the end be winners and those will not win find themselves in the same position, a position of mutual respect and appreciation of what they do. Together, they are ambassadors of culture.
This is somehow the way we felt in Spain, in San Sebastian, where at the beginning of April 2016, we, together with representatives of Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales, director Ankica Puškarić and fairy tale teller Jasna Held, participated in the ceremony of the announcement of European Museum of the Year. EMYA is the oldest and most prestigious European museum award, which this year was held for the 39th time, and to highlight its importance it is unofficially known as the ‘European Museum Oscar.’
The award is presented under the auspices of the Council of Europe as part of the European Museum Forum, and Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales was in competition with 49 other museums from 24 European countries. This year’s award for European Museum of the Year went to POLIN: the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews in Warsaw, but the attention of Europe did not overlook any of the pearls of European museum treasures.
Along with EMYA Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales this year also shares one more significant anniversary, which in itself speaks about the interweaving of the richness of Croatian and European heritage: This year Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales celebrated 100 years of the publication of ‘Croatian Tales of Long Ago’, and EMYA celebrated the 100th birthday of its founder, Kenneth Hudson.
The nomination in Spain was also an opportunity for Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales to open a path towards the hearts of the public throughout Europe. It did this in a medium which everyone agreed was the best – storytelling. After the presentation of the work of the visitor’s centre from Ogulin the hall in San Sebastian echoed with loud applause.
Everything that Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić could have hoped for, but that would surely not happen again on the European stage in the 21st century. But, this is why fairy tales exist.