TOP Estonian art museums and galleries

Source: Tõnu Tunnel, Visit Estonia

TOP Estonian art museums and galleries

Past and future, Baltic and Nordic—these contrasts are what make the Estonian art scene unique. From traditional art to contemporary installations, there is truly something for everyone. Plus, Estonia’s compact size means you can easily get to the top picks outside of Tallinn, even on a weekend stay.

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Kumu Art Museum

Harju maakond, Kesklinna linnaosa

Kumu is the main building of the Art Museum of Estonia and the largest and most representative exhibition place in Estonia. The task of the Kumu Art Museum, opened in 2006, is to preserve and make sense of Estonian art from the 18th century to the present day. Kumu sees its role as a initiator of social and cultural debate, both in the exhibitions of art history and in the gallery of contemporary art, which is a source of new ideas for artists from Estonia and abroad. Kumu’s permanent exhibition introduces Estonian art from the beginning of the 18th century to 1991, and the temporary exhibitions also include international and contemporary art. See the Kumu calendar for events and exhibitions taking place there.

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Tartu Art Museum

Tartu maakond, Tartu linn

Tartu Art Museum is an open and welcoming museum, full of exciting encounters with new and old art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Also called Tartmus, the space builds bridges between the past and the present and speaks to contemporary people on important topics. The museum was founded in 1940 to collect, preserve, and promote contemporary art. Tartmus is located in a crooked house in Tartu Town Hall Square, which was built in 1793. The house has been slanted by 5.8 degrees due to the marshy banks of the  Emajõgi River. This means that the house is more tilted than the Pisa Tower. The art collections and the professional library are located at Rüütli 23.

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Fine-art photography centre Fotografiska Tallinn

Harju maakond, Põhja-Tallinna linnaosa

Fotografiska is an internationally recognised museum of photography with its roots in Stockholm. It is a meeting place for art, good food, music, design, and open mindsets. The concept of the Fotografiska Tallinn Photography Museum includes an exhibition and event area, a café, a restaurant, and a fine-art photography shop. The first Fotografiska was opened in Stockholm in 2010. After Tallinn, the museum will visit New York and London.

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Estonian Applied Art and Design Museum

Harju maakond, Kesklinna linnaosa

The museum, which is located in a medieval Old Town storehouse, displays the works of Estonian jewellery, textile, metal, glass and ceramic artists and designers from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. About 15,000 museum items form one of the most valuable and comprehensive collections of Estonian professional applied art and design; in addition, we have a collection of photos, negatives and slides, a specialist library and an archive. Enjoy the permanent exhibition of the history of Estonian applied art; more recent ideas are displayed in exhibitions organized on the ground floor and the gallery of the museum. We offer guided tours and educational programmes, organize events and workshops.

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Kai Art Center

Harju maakond, Põhja-Tallinna linnaosa

The Kai Art Center is Tallinn’s new seaside cultural centre that intertwines the history and architecture of the Noblessner area with contemporary art and culture. In the 100-year-old industrial building of the former secret submarine factory, visitors will find international exhibitions, a cinema, a joint office of cultural leaders, and various venues for events. Different eateries are located on the lower floor of the Kai Art Centre like the Japanese restaurant Kampai, the Kaif cocktail bar, the Suhkruingel confectionery, and Lore Bistro which offer contemporary Estonian cuisine.

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Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia

Harju maakond, Põhja-Tallinna linnaosa

One of the goals of the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia that is located in an alternative art space – a former office building on a deck of an old boiler house, is to create odd impressions of a museum. It is a means of self-institutionalization for the artists and curators of younger generation. The purpose is to be an intermediary between official art institutions and alternative galleries, and to keep asking what should be the true nature of a contemporary art museum? In addition to exhibitions, we have started to build our own collection. A café on the ground floor allows organizing various events and club/music projects.

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Tallinn Art Hall Gallery

Harju maakond, Kesklinna linnaosa

The building at Vabaduse Square 6, designed by architect Alar Kotli, was completed in 1953; it is managed by Estonian Artists' Association and is a home to the Tallinn Art Hall Gallery. The gallery hosts 8–10 different exhibitions a year, visited by up to 20,000 people.

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Museum of New Art

Pärnu maakond, Pärnu linn

When visiting the art galleries of Pärnu, you can always rely on the Museum of New Art to surprise you with its exhibitions of modern art. The museum’s collection contains more than 400 works, and more than 1200 documentaries are kept in its videotheque. Established by Mark Soosaar, the art centre is extremely important in the cultural life of Pärnu. Did you know...? *The international exhibition of nudes known as 'Man and Woman' has become a tradition at the museum *The Pärnu Film Festival, at which international documentaries compete with each other and new Estonian documentaries are premiered, has been held more than twenty times

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Hobusepea Gallery

Harju maakond, Kesklinna linnaosa

The priorities of the Gallery are non-profit shows of modern art, show-sales, Estonian top artists solo projects, Estonian Artists Union sub unions special projects and introducing the creation of young artists

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Gallery of the Estonian National Museum

Tartu maakond, Tartu linn

The Gallery of the Estonian National Museum is a nearly 400-square-metre exhibition space located in the immediate vicinity of entrance B and the café. There are some small exhibitions at the Café Pööriöö as well. Since the opening of the museum, the gallery has housed several art exhibitions: besides traditional fine art, there are often exhibitions of applied art, fashion, and ethnographic photography. Each exhibition is independent, but still somewhat related to the permanent exhibitions of the Estonian National Museum or some large temporary exhibition. 

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Viinistu Art Museum

Harju maakond, Viinistu küla

The Viinistu Art Museum opened its doors in 2002. The main building of the museum has been rebuilt from the cold building of the fish processing factory of the former fisherman's collective farm. Today, in the halls of the museum, you will find an exposition consisting of more than four hundred works in Jaan Manitski's rich art collection, which includes the works of Estonian artists from the 19th century to the present. The permanent exhibition provides a good overview of the history of Estonian art, offering at the same time the opportunity to peek into the world of one particular collector. The museum is the only one of its kind in Estonia. The exhibitions in the barrel galleries change every summer.

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Kadriorg Art Museum

Harju maakond, Kesklinna linnaosa

Kadriorg Art Museum is the only museum in Estonia dedicated to early European and Russian art. In a Baroque palace built by Tsar Peter the Great of Russia as a summer residence, the museum houses and displays paintings, prints, and sculptures from Western Europe and Russia. Temporary exhibitions show the audience artistic treasures from internationally renowned museums as well as private collections. Besides exhibitions, the museum also organises various educational activities. The main hall of the palace, with its unique interior and acoustics, is a great venue for plays and concerts. The museum is also surrounded by a charming park.

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Last updated : 30.04.2022

In category: History & culture

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