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.

There are 190 museums in Estonia with 249 places to visit, which preserve about 7.4 million museum objects.

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.


The division of labour in the museum field between the Ministry of Culture and the National Heritage Board


As of 1 May 2019, in addition to heritage protection, the National Heritage Board is also curating the museum field.

Ministry of Culture:
  • legislative drafting
  • strategic planning
  • operating subsidies and investments
  • Museum Council

National Heritage Board:

  • MuIS, the museum information system
  • joint depository
  • national collection policy
  • monitoring of museum collections
  • compensation for damages related to international exhibitions
  • studies, analyses
  • consultation, training, instructions
  • project grants

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 7 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.

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. As of the end of 2018, a description of approximately 3.4 million museum objects has been entered, of which over 1.3 million have digital images and approximately 1.2 million have comprehensive descriptions.
  • 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.


Main partners


In implementing museum policy, the Ministry of Culture works closely with the National Heritage Board, Estonian Museum Association, ICOM Estonia and the Museum Council.

National Heritage Board

In regard to museums, the objective of the National Heritage Board, as the implementer of museum policy, is to head up the development of the museums in Estonia, to advise and popularise the museums, and promote cooperation between the museums.

General information about the museums and the necessary auxiliary materials for museum employees is available on the National Heritage Board website.

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: 14 August 2019