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Last year’s Best Permanent Exhibition was organised by the Estonian National Museum

1. February 2017 - 12:46
Museum Rat statue (sculptor Tiiu Kirsipuu). Photo: Estonian National Museum
Museum Rat statue (sculptor Tiiu Kirsipuu). Photo: Estonian National Museum

On January 27th at the Estonian National Museum, ten awards and one special prize were presented at the annual awards gala for Estonian museums. The Museum Council, operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, recognised the Echo of the Urals exhibition at the Estonian National Museum as the best permanent exhibition for 2016. The award for the year’s best temporary exhibition for the past year was awarded to the Natural Death exhibition at the Estonian Health Care Museum.

A total of 83 applications were received by the competition, of which 29 entries were selected as nominees based on the decisions of the competition’s evaluation committee. And in turn, the thematic committees selected the ten winners. A special prize was also awarded for the tenth time by Enterprise Estonia (EE).

According to Minister of Culture Indrek Saar, this year’s event provides an excellent example of the diversity of museum work. “The museums are keeping up with the times, and thereby play a special role in Estonian society as the interpreters of our past, present and future. This impact is extremely great, and it is confirmed by the over three million annual visits to museums. It is especially gratifying to know that many of our museums are privately owned, and are therefore civil initiatives that enrich our cultural story,” Saar said.

Winner of the Annual Museum Awards for 2016:

  • The award for the Best Permanent Exhibition went to the Estonian National Museum. The Echo of the Urals exhibition introduces our linguistic relatives and searches for the connections between these cultures and their ways of thinking, languages and genes. The author of the idea for the exhibition was Art Leete; the leading curator was Svetlana Karm; and the curators were Piret Koosa, Indrek Jääts, Nikolai Kuznetsov and Madis Arukask. The architectural solution came from JANKEN Wisespace; the design from the Velvet design office; the multimedia solutions were produced by Keijo Kraus, Pärtel Vurma, Reimo Unt; the photo panoramas by Peeter Laurits; the sound design by Taavi Tulev; river of light by Marko Erlach. And the producer was Mart Lankots.
  • The title of Best Exhibition of 2016 went to the Natural Death exhibition at the Estonian Health Care Museum. The exhibition deals with death and related topics. The winning exhibition was curated by Ülle Kask; designed by Kristiina Kuus; and the graphic design by Britta Benno. The team also included Kärt Mikli and Taavi Kuri.
  • The Conservation Award went to Karl-Erik Hiiemaa for developing the solutions for the conservation and installation of the items in the “Silver Treasure” and “Power and Conquest” display cases in the Estonian National Museum’s permanent Encounters exhibition.
  • The title of Best Keeper of a Collection went to Virge Lell from the University of Tartu Museum for its collection Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth.
  • Maris Meus from the University of Tartu Museum was recognised as the Best Heritage Preserver in a Museum for surveying the culturally valuable assets of the University of Tartu, putting in order the list of objects included in the heritage protection register, the creation of an electronic database, and developing and implementing the principles for managing and preserving cultural property.    
  • The title of Museum Education Promoters of the Year went to Annika Pindis, Arle Puusepp and Mairo Rääsk from the University of Tartu Museum, for organising the Crazy Scientist’s Second Scientific Conference for first to third graders called Soil as Gold. 
  • The 2016 Best Scientific Publication was authored by Garel Püüa, Tõnu Sepp and Ragnar Nurk from the Saaremaa Museum. The authors received the award for Kastellist kindluseks. Kuressaare linnus-kindluse ehituslugu uute väliuuringute valguses. 
  • The Best Scientific Project was organised by the Art Museum of Estonia, where the Rode Altarpiece in Close-up project was carried out under the direction of Hilkka Hiiop.
  • The Best Marketing Project was conducted by the team at the University of Tartu Museum, comprised of Kerttu Palginõmm, Mairo Rääsk, Jaanika Anderson, Janet Laidla, Karoliina Kalda, Urmet Paloveer, Terje Lõbu, Pilvi Käiro and Marianne Sokk, for the project called Cooperation with the Tartu City Festival.
  • The award for the 2016 Museum Developer went to Karel Zova for the project called Tallinn City Museum’s Virtual Exhibition on the Google Arts & Culture Platform.
  • The special prize of the Enterprise Estonia Tourism Development Centre for the 2016 Most Visitor-Friendly Museum went to the Seto Farm Museum.


According to Tarmo Mutso, the director of the Enterprise Estonia Tourism Development Centre, the Seto Farm Museum has successfully demonstrated how not be become intellectually marginalised in an area far from the centre. “The museum is successfully introducing the entire region. At the same time, it involves the local community in its activities and shows visitors, in an interesting way, how traditions live on: by offer the local traditional cuisine, teaching old skills, and organising leelo-singing days that are included in UNESCO’s cultural schedule,” Mutso explains.


All the winners receive a monetary award of €1,300 from the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, which they can use to participate in The Best in Heritage Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in the annual conference of the European Museum Forum or to take a study trip to a museum that has been awarded the title of European Museum of the Year.


All the winners will receive a small Museum Rat statue (sculptor Tiiu Kirsipuu). The large Museum Rat statues awarded for best temporary and permanent exhibitions are travelling awards that will continue to circulate.


A photo gallery of the awards gala is available HERE.


More information:

Marju Niinemaa
Chief Specialist, Cultural Heritage Department, Ministry of Culture
528 3770



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