The Estonian National Museum sends greetings from Tartu – the European Capital of Culture 2024!

  • 2024-02-13

Estonia’s largest and best-known museum has something for everyone, giving you plenty to do for several days! Come and discover our permanent and temporary exhibitions for 2024, take part in conferences, treat yourself to delicious food in the restaurant, and visit concerts, our cosy library, and the museum shop. Metallica has performed live here and WRC Rally Estonia is our regular guest.

Permanent exhibitions

The permanent exhibition Encounters is an exhibition of ordinary Estonian people living in Estonia. More than 3,700 square metres reveal the everyday activities and domestic life of Estonian people, coping in both natural and urban environments, with changing times and changing authorities. Step back in time from the present to the past! On your way, you have the opportunity to reflect on freedom, consumption, and the environment, see the first Estonian flag, get to know the food culture, play with language, find rest in the comfort of a bed, and leaf through books. Thousands of objects, pictures, and sounds tell many fascinating stories about the life of ordinary Estonians through time.

We have a smart ticket for this exhibition: purchase it at the ticket desk and the ticket will change the language of the exhibition information on the display screens. 

In our second major permanent exhibition, Echo of the Urals, you will find yourself in a magical Finno-Ugric world. The exhibition is dedicated to the indigenous Finno-Ugric peoples without statehood. Visit a Karelian sauna, step inside a Komi hut, learn about various rituals, and compare different languages. Around a tenth of the abundant Finno-Ugric collection of the Estonian National Museum (ENM) is on display, with the oldest items dating back to the nineteenth century.

Temporary exhibitions

In the late evening of 26 January, we will celebrate the grand opening of the year of Tartu as the 2024 Capital of Culture in front of and inside the ENM.

On 17 February, the ENM opens its doors to the urban night. The exhibition Who Claims the Night? looks at how people have experienced Estonian urban night in the past and explores the multiple meanings of night today. Just 150 or so years ago, the streets were shrouded in darkness, wolves howled in the suburbs... The only ones moving around were the night watchmen tasked with maintaining order and disciplining nightgoers. Modern cities and towns, in contrast, are always awake, providing services and diverse forms of cultural life throughout the night. 

On 4 April begins the international surrealism exhibition Surrealism 100 X Tartmus. These reality-bending works, created in the spirit of unreality, dreams, and hallucinations, are haunting and intriguing, offering you the pleasure of interpretation and expanding the horizons of fantasy. You will have a special chance to witness the dialogue between the works of Estonian and Czech surrealists.

On 15 June, the choral masterpiece called Forgotten Peoples by composer Veljo Tormis will be performed at the ENM. This choral cycle is a complete musical portrait of six Finno-Ugric tribes from the Baltic Sea region. Three movements of the work will be performed by the 80-member Paris Philharmonic Orchestra Choir (Chœur de l’Orchestre de Paris), conducted by Ingrid Roose. The concert will be complemented by a special video and lighting design.

From 30 October to 2 November, the ENM will host the international conference entitled Sustainability in Practice: DIY Repair, Reuse and Innovation.

On 2 November, a solo exhibition by the world-renowned Japanese visual and sound artist Ryoji Ikeda will be opened to visitors. The artist will create two new works for the ENM: an audiovisual installation based on research data from the Institute of Genomics of the University of Tartu, and a sound installation in collaboration with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. The exhibition will be designed by one of the architects of the building of the museum, Tsuyoshi Tane.

Refreshments and souvenirs

The museum’s restaurant, Pooripaev, is open during museum hours. The museum shop sells a wide range of Estonian design, folk handicrafts and local flavours. Anyone who opts not to buy something that catches their eye, but later changes their mind, they can order it from the museum’s online store at any time, for delivery anywhere in the world!

Sculpture park

Alongside the museum building is a sculpture park perfect for strolling through, whatever the season. You can also explore the old distillery, admire Lake Raadi and count the oak trees planted here over the last seven years. There is also a children’s playground and a traditional Estonian swing.

General info

The doors of the Estonian National Museum are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The museum is at 2 Muuseumi Street in Tartu. You can get here on bus no. 7 or 25, the latter direct from the railway station. For drivers, there is a large car park right in front of Entrance A.

The museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users and those with prams.