Being a pioneer in the treatment of its exhibits, as well as its activities and the high level of the provided services, all equally treated, the Museum, The Museum of Byzantine Culture has been awarded the Council of Europe's Museum Prize for the year 2005, distinction awarded to a Greek museum for the first time. The above-mentioned prize, one of the most important European distinctions in the field of cultural heritage, has been awarded annually since 1977 to a museum judged to a museum that has recently completed its permanent exhibition or its redisplay of its collection, recognizing a significant contribution to the understanding of a common European cultural heritage. The winning museum is selected on the basis of a shortlist presented by a jury of the European Museum Forum.
The decision for the award was taken unanimously by the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on December 2nd 2004. This was announced to the Museum on December 15th by Peter Schieder, President, at the time, of the Parliamentary session of the Council of Europe. The jury appreciated “the excellence of the museum and the balance between conservation, restoration and presentation”, noting in particular the virtual absence of show-cases and the illustration of restoration work.
The trophy of the award, Jοan Mirό’s La femme aux beaux seins (The Woman with the Two Breasts, 1969) was kept and displayed at the Museum of Byzantine Culture for a year. Today in its place a photographic reproduction of it is presented at the entrance of the permanent exhibition.