The Estonian annual museum awards, or Museum Rats were awarded in ten categories and also one special prize was handed out at a gala that took place at Haapsalu Cultural Centre on 29 January. The Museum Council working under the Ministry of Culture recognised “Night Flyers” by the Estonian Museum of Natural History as the Best Exhibition of 2015 among 108 received applications. The award for the Best Permanent Exhibition was given to “A Heart to Heart about Your Body” by the Estonian Health Museum.
Minister of Culture Indrek Saar said that handing out Museum Rats is an honourable recognition for the best Estonian museum specialists and an opportunity to publicly highlight the various aspects of museum work. “The challenges museums are facing in today’s fast-developing society are not easy. Museums have risen to the occasion with their attentive ear and heightened sensitiveness towards society by observing the expectations of society and simultaneously being responsive and active players in public life,” Saar confirmed.
In addition to organising exhibitions, working with collections, conservation activities, educational programmes, publishing scientific literature and organising scientific events, activities concerning heritage protection, and also marketing and museum development were recognised at the annual award gala.
Winners of the annual museum awards 2015:
- Award for the Best Permanent Exhibition went to the Estonian Health Museum for their permanent exhibition on human anatomy “A Heart to Heart about Your Body”. Curator: Ülle Kask, designers: Liis Lindvere, Raili Paling, Kadri Kaldam, Indrek Mikk (KOKO Arhitektid OÜ), graphic design: Marko Ausma and Maris Kaskmann (Produktsioonigrupp OÜ), project manager: Teele Siig (Produktsioonigrupp OÜ), other team members: Kärt Mikli, Margus Jurkatam and Kalju Paju.
- Award for the Best Exhibition of 2015 was given to “Night Flyers” by the Estonian Museum of Natural History, which introduced the mysterious world of moths and owls. The exhibition was organised by Anne-Ly Nurmõtalo, Aare Lindt and Evelin Reimand. The exhibition was designed by Pult OÜ.
- Award for Conservation Work was given to Ruth Paas from the Conservation and Digitisation Centre Kanut of the Estonian Open Air Museum for the conservation of handheld folding fans of the Art Museum of Estonia.
- Title for the Best Curator of Collection was awarded to Kristiina Hiiesalu, Anne Ruussaar, Ene Heimvell and Merike Neidorp from the Tallinn City Museum for the project “Open Depository – Porcelain and Faience”.
- Title for the Best Heritage Protector in a Museum was given to Tõnu Sepp from the Saaremaa Museum for the project “Kuressaare kindluse kui turismiobjekti arendamine” (“Developing the Kuressaare Castle as a Tourist Object”).
- Title for the Promoter of Museum Education was awarded to Jane Meresmaa-Roos from the Art Museum of Estonia for the training programme “Kunst kõnetab kõiki. Puuetega inimesed kunstimuuseumides” (“Art Speaks to Everyone. People with Special Needs in Art Museums”) together with the sculpture programme “Käegakatsutavad kangelased” (“Tangible Heroes”).
- Award for the Best Scientific Publication went to Tiina Jürgen from the Museum of Viljandi for the publication “Mulgi rahvarõivad” (“Mulgi National Clothes”). Chief editor: Ave Matsin, designer: Kristjan Mändmaa and publishers: Museum of Viljandi and University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy.
- The Best Scientific Event was organised by the Art Museum of Estonia, where the Kumu Art Museum fall conference “Shared Practices: The Intertwinement of the Arts in the Culture of Socialist Eastern Europe” took place under the management of Anu Allas. The conference was dedicated to post-World War II art in Eastern Europe.
- Award for Best Marketing was handed to the management team of the Night of Museums consisting of Külli Lupkin, Laura Kipper, Triin Männik and Margus Palu. Night of Museums 2015 “Music in the Night” set the new all-time visitor record by attracting more than 110,000 people from all over Estonia to museums during the five hours in one evening.
- Award for the Museum Developer 2015 went to the Estonian Open Air Museum for their project “Eesti Vabaõhumuuseumi setu ja peipsivene teema külastuskeskuse ja parklate ehitus” (“Building the Estonian Open Air Museum Seto and Peipus-Russian Visitor Centre and Parking Lots”), organised by Merike Lang and Jaak Kõiva.
The Special Prize was announced by the Estonian Tourist Board of Enterprise Estonia (EAS) and this was given to the Estonian Open Air Museum for tourist friendliness and convenience of customer journey.
According to Director of the Estonian Tourist Board Tarmo Mutso, the role of museums in introducing Estonia to foreign visitors is constantly increasing. “With the help of the Estonian Open Air Museum, we can quickly give an emotional and interesting overview of Estonian history to foreign visitors in an attractive and exciting way,” Mutso said.
The winner of each category receives a monetary award in the amount of 1,300 euros from the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and it can be used for participating either in the conference “The Best in Heritage” in Dubrovnik, Croatia, or in the European Museum Forum Annual Conference, or for a study trip to the museum that received the European Museum of the Year Award.
All winners receive small Museum Rat sculptures (creation by sculptor Tiiu Kirsipuu). The big Museum Rats awarded for the Best Exhibition and the Best Permanent Exhibition will be passed on to the new winners next year.
The photo gallery of the award gala can be viewed here.
Chief Specialist of the Cultural Heritage Department of the Ministry of Culture
+372 528 3770