Awards & Honors

Professor Elisabetta Terragni’s Project Wins Major Award

The 2020 Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded to the National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves” (Tirana, Albania) by Studio Terragni Architetti, based in Como, Italy, and Brooklyn, New York, and headed by Professor Elisabetta Terragni.

The museum was selected by the Culture Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at a meeting in Paris today. The National Museum of Secret Surveillance “House of Leaves” commemorates the psychological violence and total control of citizens during the Communist regime in Albania (1944-1991), during which 18,000 people were prosecuted and charged and 5,000 executed. It is situated in the former State Security house in the center of Tirana, which served as the Central Directorate of the Sigurimi, a technical branch of the Albanian State service agency. The particular feature of this small museum is that it has remained virtually intact with original equipment and recordings that are now stored in archives.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded annually since 1977 to a museum judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding of European cultural heritage, the promotion of respect for human rights and democracy, bridging cultures, overcoming social and political borders, broadening visitors’ knowledge and understanding of contemporary societal issues, and exploring ideas of democratic citizenship. The winning museum is presented with a bronze statuette by Joan Miró, which the museum will keep for a year, together with a diploma. The prize is decided on the basis of three proposals presented by a jury of the European Museum Forum and forms part of the European Museum of the Year Awards. Recent winners of the prize include the Museum of Communication in Bern, Switzerland (2019); the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2018); and the Caribbean Centre of Expressions and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery in Guadeloupe, France (2017).