Museums are supported by the state directly from the state budget, local government budgets and university budgets as well as through the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Estonian Folk Culture Centre. In accordance with the fundamental principles of culture policy, the owner of a museum collection shall ensure the basic financing for fulfilling the main tasks of a museum.
Direct support from the state budget is given to state museums. In addition to the Ministry of Culture, state museums belong to the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and Ministry of the Interior.
The basis for financing the activities of foundations with state participation, and museums operated by local governments, persons in public law and private persons is the Regulation by the Minister of Culture, entitled “Procedure for the application for and distribution of resources allocated to the Ministry of Culture from the state budget to support the activities of museums”.
The application round „Operating support for support organisations in the fields of heritage protection, museums and libraries“ is used among others, for offering finances to support organisations in the field of museums, including such NGOs as the Estonian Museum Society and the ICOM Estonia National Committee. The aim is to include the organisations in shaping cultural policy and the realisation of activities as well as developing and increasing their network of volunteer members and organisational capacity, increase their quality of traditional as well as innovative activities and internationality, as well as interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary capacity, develop cooperation and increase the professionalism of workers in the field.
The National Heritage Board supports the popularisation of the museum field, its strategical development, activation of cooperation between museums and training of museum workers – all through the application round „Development of the cultural heritage field“.
The state provides funding for international projects through the application round „Estonian Culture in the World“. Projects that are supported facilitate the internationalisation of Estonian culture and cultural export, introduce Estonia to the world through culture and establish opportunities for creative people of Estonia. Also the accessibility of cultural groups and creative entrepreneurs to the international scene is supported.
Projects are also funded by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Estonian Folk Culture Centre.