GPO Witness History Visitor Centre, created by An Post and managed by Shannon Heritage, has received The Micheletti Award at the European Museum Academy Awards. The prestigious Micheletti Award is the European prize for innovative museums in the world of contemporary history, industry and science.
At a glittering award ceremony in Skopje, Macedonia, the immersive visitor centre based in the heart of one of Ireland’s most historic buildings beat off stiff competition from attractions around Europe, including the German Football Museum in Dortmund, Opera del Duomo, Florence, Italy, and the European Solidarity Centre, Gdansk, Poland.
Aline FitzGerald, GPO Witness History’s General Manager, was delighted with the win: “This is such incredible recognition not only for the team at GPO Witness History but also for the many contributors to the visitor centre from its inception to today.”
HRH Princess Sibella of Luxembourg presented the Micheletti Award to Mark Leslie of Martello Media, who accepted the award on behalf of GPO Witness History. Mark in his acceptance speech said this honour marked a crowning moment in his professional life and paid tribute to his creative team on the project and Shannon Heritage’s operational staff at the GPO.
GPO Witness History affords visitors a chance to see a side of the building not usually available to the public, including a breath-taking courtyard at its centre.
The objective of the exhibition is to communicate the complex narrative of modern Irish history in a manner that makes it accessible to a variety of audiences both in Ireland and internationally using witness accounts and original artefacts. GPO Witness History offers visitors a chance to experience the birth of modern Ireland through interactive touchscreens, games and memorabilia. It includes a immersive movie featuring key events of the 1916 Easter Rising from the perspective of The GPO.
Awarding the Micheletti, the judges at the European Museum Academy Awards were effusive in their praise of GPO Witness History: “The Centre is a perfect example of 20th century history in retrospect, dealing in an even-handed way with a very emotive subject that would have been impossible even a decade ago. It is an extraordinary achievement, an historical challenge that has been transformed into a reconciliation centre which also poses questions for the future. Our warmest congratulations go to the whole team.”
GPO Witness History Visitor Centre has also been shortlisted for the AHI Discover Heritage Awards – for excellence in cultural and natural heritage interpretation in Britain and Ireland 2017 – in the Visitor / Interpretation Centres category.