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 the Gambling Tax Council. 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 Communicaations, Ministry of Agriculture 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”.
Project-based support from the programme “Development of museums” is given by the Ministry of Culture to activities that promote museums (incl. the organisation of Museum Night) and closer cooperation between museums, and to training for museum workers. The same programme assists support organisations, such as MTÜ Eesti Muuseumiühing (Estonian Museum Society) and MTÜ ICOM Eesti Rahvuskomitee (ICOM Estonian National Committee).
Through the programme “Museum reserve” the state finances unplanned repair works in state museums and state-founded foundations.
International projects are supported by the state through the grant programme “Estonian Culture in the World”. The programme assists projects that enhance the internationalisation of Estonian culture and the export thereof, the introduction of Estonia globally through culture, and the creation of wider opportunities for Estonian creative persons. It also helps various cultural groups and creative enterprises to enter the international stage.
Project grants are allocated by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Gambling Tax Council.