The mission of museums is to ensure the continuance of our culture and to connect past experiences with the future. Of all the European countries, Estonia has the most museums per 100,000 inhabitants.

Together with all branches there are 242 museums in Estonia.

A complete list of Estonian museums can be found from the webpage of the Information Centre of Estonian Museums
The annual Museum Night is also extremely popular and most museums get rather crowded.


Rearrangement of museum network


Starting from 2012 the network of museums has been rearranged and the legal status of museums has been changed on the basis of the specifics of a museum and local circumstances.
The state has established 13 new museum foundations, local governments now manage 5 former state museums.
Foundations are preferred to state institutions as this form gives the museums more flexibility in management and more opportunities to take regional or professional specifics into account.

Further info


Museum financing politics.

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International cooperation

Estonian museums in international cooperation projects.

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Culture 2020 and museums

General priorities in museums up to 2020.

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New building of the Estonian National Museum


One of the most important projects was the construction of a new building for the Estonian National Museum.
The museum was opened in October 2016.
More information on the museum building and exhibitions can be found at thewebpage of the Estonian National Museum.



Significant events

Annual awards of Estonian museums
The purpose of annual award-giving is to praise the best museum specialists and to show the public various aspects of museum work. Awards are given by the Museum Council in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and with the support of the Cultural Endowment.
In 2004, the Museum Rat competition was initiated to award noteworthy exhibitions. In the 2009/2010 ceremony a new award was added, to be given to the best new museum or renewed permanent display. Already the competition has expanded to include several more prize categories, and has been renamed the Annual Awards of Estonian Museums.
Estonian museum souvenir award EMMA
EMMA is a monetary prize, which is handed out every two years to an Estonian museum that submits the best souvenir. The award is given by MTÜ Eesti Muuseumiühing in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture.
Museum Night
Once a year in May Museum Night takes place, when all the museums and other memory institutions stay open longer than usual and free of charge to celebrate the Europe-wide Long Night of Museums. Museum Night happens on the Saturday closest to the International Museum Day on May 18.

Museums in virtual reality

  • MuIS

    MuIS is a museum information system – a web-based work environment to manage museum collections and keep track of state assets. It also helps make the information kept in the museums accessible to the public. At the moment 60 museums have joined MuIS and the database includes information on more than 3.2 million items and 1.2 million digital images.
  • Electronic cultural heritage in e-varamu

    E-varamu is a joint information portal of Estonian museums, libraries, archives, and other memory institutions. Through the portal one can search for information on cultural heritage items recorded in the information systems of various memory institutions.
  • Virtual exhibition system

    The virtual exhibition system offers museums a safe and easily handled environment to present collections or exhibitions, while providing history enthusiasts with improved access to the images and recordings kept in museums. The system was a cooperation project of the Ministry of Culture, MindBridge OÜ and restoration company Kanut.

Main partners


In carrying out culture policy, the Ministry of Culture cooperates closely with MTÜ Eesti Muuseumiühing and the Museum Council.

MTÜ Eesti Muuseumiühing

MTÜ Eesti Muuseumiühing (Estonian Museum Society) is an association of museum workers with more than 300 members. The society organises workshops and study trips to increase the professional competence of its members. It also publishes the magazine Muuseum. 
The Museum Society is responsible for Museum Night and the Estonian museum festival in Narva, and administers the webpage of the Information Centre of Estonian Museums, which gathers together all information related to the field of museums.

Museum Council

The Museum Council is an advisory council to the Minister of Culture, which includes representatives from museums and the founders thereof plus other experts in the field of museums. 
The Museum Council makes propositions and publishes opinions on matters related to the Museums Act, such as reviewing the collection principles of museums.

Marju Reismaa
Adviser (Museums)

Phone +372 628 2335


Last updated: 4 February 2019