On 13 March, the exhibition “Hilma af Klint. A Pioneer of Abstraction”, put together by Moderna Museet in Stockholm, was opened in Kumu Art Museum, which will remain open until 7 June. It is the first exhibition in Estonia to which the state guarantee is granted. It enables museums to organise high-quality and compelling international exhibitions to foster the Estonian culture.
“The state can provide the owner of the foreign exhibition with the guarantee that if for some reason art works are damaged, the state will compensate for that damage from state budget funds,” stated Marju Reismaa, Advisor on Museums at the Ministry of Culture. “The responsibility for the preservation of art works will still lie with the museum, but the state declares its readiness to compensate for damage, if it should occur. European practice has shown that loss events are extremely rare and the state guarantee system is therefore helpful in reducing the arrangement costs of international exhibitions. This way, when holding international exhibitions, museums do not have to pay insurance premiums any more, which constitute a considerable part of the overall exhibition budget," explained Reismaa.
Director-General of the Art Museum of Estonia Sirje Helme added that the museum has waited for the state guarantee for years. “Firstly, the state guarantee is an important financial help for museums because, year after year, insurance premiums have increased and, therefore, there are more risks to consider when entering into contracts. Secondly, the state guarantee is also morally important: the majority of European countries have a well-functioning state insurance system but Estonia was one of those few countries that had not implemented it yet. That fact has always been unpleasant to admit to cooperation partners,” Helme said. She also noted that this guarantee will contribute to better promotion of the European culture in Estonia. “I am glad that the exhibition “Hilma af Klint. A Pioneer of Abstraction” was the first one guaranteed by the state because otherwise we probably would have not been able to bring this renowned and pioneering exhibition to Estonia,” Helme stated.
The system of damage compensation for international exhibitions enables to enrich local cultural life, ensure more efficient use of the budget recourses of museums and activate international exchange of exhibitions. As the state guarantee system is well-established in Europe, implementing the relevant system in Estonia would facilitate the cooperation of the museums of Estonia with their European colleagues both in organizing joint exhibitions and in exchanging exhibitions.