The European Museum Forum was first established in 1977 by Kenneth Hudson. Hudson’s aims was about triggering the interchange of ideas among museum professionals on international level and founding a network of inspiration. Two main awards have been established since the Forum’s foundation in 1977: the European Museum Award and the Council of Europe Museum Prize. These awards are the most efficient method of overseeing the changes that occur in European museums. The activities of the European Museum Forum advanced forward from a mere competition for museums across Europe to take part in to a medium in which a wide range of challenges faced by European museums can be solved.
The European museum landscape has changed dramatically, observed by the European Museum Forum over the years. Those changes are both quantitative and qualitative in nature. First, there have been numerous museums established across Europe, indicating a rapid growth. Second, museums are perceived and organized in a way that is different from decades ago. The European Museum Forum has been responsive to possible shift in tendencies and trends within the scope of museum sector in Europe. The Forum has also been on the forefront of developing approaches to interpretation and protection of heritage.
As smaller museums played a significant role in evolving museum methodology, the European Museum Forum showed supports for them throughout the late 70s and 80s. The role the EMF plays was significantly felt and became even more meaningful by the 90s. Reaching the end of the Cold War and with the collapse of the Iron Curtain, former communist countries joined the Council of Europe in the 90s, bringing along their heritage and museums. The European Museum Forum was instrumental in its collaboration with the Council of Europe in bridging museums in the Western with their counterparts in the Eastern Europe.