The best of 2020: Hungarian museums and exhibitions

The Pulszky Society of the Hungarian Museum Association announced the year's best museums and exhibitions on October 9.


The Pulszky Society was founded in 1989-1990, and in 1997 initiated the Museum of the Year award competition. In 2011 the Exhibition of the Year award was included. According to the Pulszky Society, “the aim in both cases is to find and promote those Hungarian museums whose performance was outstanding on all fields of museum activity, or had an excellent and visitors-friendly exhibition in the given year.”

The Hungarian Museum Association allowed self-registration along with participation by nomination in this year's competition. The three categories to win in were Museum of the Year, Exhibition of the Year, and Museum of Community. For the first time, museums not located in Hungary could also apply for Exhibition of the Year based on Hungarian-related collections.

This year’s nominees featured a wide range of Hungarian history and culture. The museums feature contemporary art to folklore and archeology.

The winner of the Large Museum of the Year was the Ludwig Museum, a contemporary art museum. This was the first time the award was given to an institution purely focused on contemporary art. Its collection comprises artworks from the sixties up until today, the museum has a circle of international art collectors as its partners.

The Small Museum of the Year was won by the Jakab Bleyer Museum located in Budaörs, which houses a permanent exhibition on the settlement’s history. The museum opened in 1980 and is especially focused on showing how locals lived ages ago. The museum features furniture from different periods of time.

Exhibition of the Year had two categories. The first are exhibitions with a historical cost above HUF 2 million. The winner was ‘Vizeum’ which features an impressive collection of all things related to water (water management, navigation, bathing, etc.). The second category is for exhibitions that cost below the HUF 2 million line. The winner was from outside of Hungary, ‘Volt egyszer egy színház’. The Museum of Bačka Topola in Vojvodina, Serbia houses the collection.

Finally, the Museum of Community was awarded to 14 different museums. This award recognizes those museums that incorporate the community by involving local people, civil society organizations, and other partners. Most notable winners include the Ludwig Museum, the Hungarian Open Air Museum, and the József Attila Museum.

Photo credit: Ludwig Múzeum