The EMA Prize has been established with the aim of recognising the outstanding results of organisations, researchers and cultural institutions in creating pioneering museums or producing studies and carrying on projects of European relevance which are destined to influence the development of museological discourse at the international level. It is an award given by experts with a proven European background to a museum or an institution which displays outstanding museological expertise, or to a person whose contribution to museums studies or museums projects is likely to change the course of museum thinking or museum practice, nationally and internationally.

The Galileo Museum in Florence is the first winner of this prestigious award. Inaugurated in 1930, was closed for more than two years to undergo a complete restructuring and layout design.  On 10 June 2010 it reopened in the 11th-century Palazzo Castellani under its new name of the Galileo Museum. The new layout reflects innovative museological and technological planning which combines historical and scientific rigor with conservation, design and communication strategies.

The collection comprises an outstanding collection of scientific instruments gathered over three centuries by the Medici and Lorraine dynasties, with over 1,000 scientific objects and experimental apparatuses on view. These include instruments belonging to Galileo, including the only two surviving telescopes of the many that he built. A new portable audiovisual system, custom-made by the Italian firm MIT, the TrackMan, offers three tour programmes in Italian and English.  It can also be configured for users with disabilities – hearing or visually impaired visitors, those with hand or arm muscle difficulties, and people unfamiliar with technological devices.

The content and navigation structure were developed entirely by the museum’s Multimedia Laboratory, which has also built and managed the detailed website.  As well as a complete tour, the site offers access to the library’s extensive database, which includes books, manuscripts, videos, photographs and exhibitions.

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