The Art Museum of Estonia 100

The Art Museum of Estonia, which grew out of the Tallinn Estonian Museum and was founded on 17 November 1919, is celebrating its centenary in 2019!

A glance to the past

1918 – The Tallinn Department of the Estonian National Museum is officially established
5 July 1919 – An independent Tallinn Museum is discussed for the first time
5 October 1919 – A meeting to establish the Tallinn Estonian Museum is held
18 October 1919 – The articles of association of the Tallinn Estonian Museum are approved
7 November 1919 – The museum’s articles of association are registered in the Tallinn-Haapsalu court
17 November 1919 – The first meeting of the association is held and the board of directors is elected. Kristjan Raud, the head of the Heritage Office of the Ministry of Education, becomes the chairman of the board

Read more here.

The Art Museum’s first home was Kadriorg Palace, where it operated both before and after World War II.

Moving the collections of the Tallinn Estonian Museum to Kadriorg Palace. 1921. Photo: Art Museum of Estonia Archives

Today, the Art Museum of Estonia is an organisation that unites five different art museums: the Niguliste Museum, Adamson-Eric Museum, Kadriorg Art Museum, Mikkel Museum and Kumu Art Museum.

In 2008, the Kumu Art Museum was recognised as the best new museum in Europe.


The exhibition programme for the jubilee year i s focused on the following themes:
women in art

The Art Museum of Estonia wishes to present the works of art that have been collected during the last century from the perspective of today’s viewer and the art collection, thereby uniting the past and the present and creating a dialogue between the art works of various eras. In addition, attention will be paid to how many excellent female artists there have been over the years. The Art Museum of Estonia is continuing its international cooperation and development of relations with various museums around the world. Many exhibitions include works from foreign museums, ranging from 19th- to 21st-century art. Outside of Estonia, the Art Museum of Estonia is introducing its collections in F inland and Japan.

Jubilee exhibitions

In the Beginning There Were … Köler and Weizenberg
Kadriorg Art Museum

The exhibition that launches the centenary of the Art Museum of Estonia provides a new angle on the work of the first two professional Estonian artists. Their oeuvres are part of the legacy of both international academic art and Estonian national art. The story of the exposition of Köler’s paintings and Weizenberg’s sculptures also reflects the more significant developments related to the Art Museum of Estonia. Curator: Mai Levin.


Open Collections: The Artist Takes the Floor 
Kumu Art Museum

On the occasion of the centenary of the Art Museum of Estonia, an exhibition of hits will be installed in Kumu’s Great Hall. An examination of the museum’s collection will be organised, the geographic and temporal dimensions of which extend from the international to the local, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Curator: Eha Komissarov.


Creating the Self: Emancipating Women in Estonian and Finnish Art
Kumu Art Museum

This large-scale exhibition focuses on the changes in women’s self-awareness and social position that started in the early 19th century, and that are reflected in the work of female artists and in the way women are depicted. The exhibition will be organised in collaboration with the Ateneum Art Museum and will present comparative Estonian and Finnish art from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. Curators: Anu All as and Tiina Abel.