University of Tartu Museum nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award
The University of Tartu Museum has been nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award. The award is issued by the European Museum Forum, and the winner will be announced in Barcelona in May.
The prize is awarded to museums that have undergone substantial modernisation in the last three years. Over 2018–2021, the University of Tartu Museum became more visitor-friendly and, with its exhibitions, highlighted the significance of the University of Tartu and the Tartu cathedral in the Estonian and European cultural space.
In these years, the museum opened in the Tartu cathedral a new permanent exhibition, “The University of Our Lives“, an exhibition of the portraits of one hundred researchers, “A Hundred Faces of the University of Tartu“, and indoor and outdoor exhibitions dedicated to the history of the cathedral. The museum renovated the hall of temporary exhibitions and the Education Lab, and installed memorial benches dedicated to the university’s researchers in the park on Toome Hill.
“Naturally, we are delighted to receive the nomination. We have not renovated the entire museum building but gradually introduced new solutions, proving that you can make big changes even with small funding. We have created an exciting museum experience centred on the atmosphere of the building. I believe the unique atmosphere combined with the fascinating artefacts and modern museological solutions makes a visit special and unforgettable,” said Director Mariann Raisma.
In addition to exhibitions, the jury also assessed the museum’s educational activities, service quality, work on the collections, the inclusion of the community, and social and environmental sustainability.
The University of Tartu Museum collects and preserves materials about the history of the University of Tartu through four centuries. The museum collections reflect the evolution of European university education in Estonia and the significance of the collections for research and teaching. The collections of the museum include nearly 250,000 artefacts.
The museum also provides several educational programmes focusing on natural sciences, astronomy and history. In 2021, the museum offered free online lessons to schools to diversify distance learning.
The European Museum of the Year nominees include 33 museums from 18 countries. The museum of the year will be announced at the beginning of May 2023 at a conference in Barcelona. More information about nominations, criteria and special awards can be found on the European Museum Forum website.
The European Museum of the Year Awards have been granted since 1977, and it is the best-known international competition of museums. The Kumu Art Museum (Art Museum of Estonia) won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2008. Special prizes have been awarded to three Estonian museums. The Seaplane Harbour (Estonian Maritime Museum) and Haapsalu Castle (Foundation of Haapsalu and Läänemaa Museums) have earned special commendations, and the Estonian National Museum has received the Kenneth Hudson Award.