Published 01/01/2024 | 15:00

More than 350,000 art lovers visited the Art Museum of Estonia in 2023

Glass lift in the Niguliste tower. Photo: Art Museum of Estonia – Niguliste Museum

Last year, the exhibitions and audience programmes of the various branches of the Art Museum of Estonia were visited by 352 704 art lovers. This includes 26 281 students and adults who participated in the educational programmes.

In 2022, the museum had 213,934 visitors, but in 2023 this number was surpassed by 138 770 visitors.

According to the chief executive officer of the Art Museum of Estonia, Sirje Helme, the increase in visitor numbers is the result of the dedication of the entire museum staff. “The increase is definitely based on a number of coinciding circumstances: the Niguliste Museum reopened, all of the branches had rich exhibition programmes and they offered numerous additional programmes to all of our visitors, from the youngest to the oldest,” Helme explained.

The last year was special for the museum because a new glass lift and skydeck were opened at the Niguliste Museum on 11 March. As a result of renovations which lasted nearly a year, another new addition was the gallery in the small chapel. The largest development project of the Art Museum of Estonia in the past decade, “Closer to the sky! Glass lift in the Niguliste tower”, was named the most important tourism project of 2023 by the City of Tallinn and received the annual award of the National Heritage Board in the category “New in the historical environment”.

Last year also saw a record number of visitors for a non-permanent exhibition at the Art Museum of Estonia: the international digital art exhibition “teamLab: Impermanent Flowers Floating in a Continuous Sea”, which was on display at the Kumu Art Museum from November 2022 to May 2023, was visited 95,000 times.

Other exhibitions which were very popular with the public, were “Futuromarennia: Ukraine and Avant-Garde”, “Art in the Age of the Anthropocene” and “Through the Black Gorge of Your Eyes” at the Kumu Art Museum and “Michel Sittow in the North? Altarpieces in Dialogue” at the Niguliste Museum. Among these, the exhibition “Art in the Age of the Anthropocene” has been nominated for the 2023 exhibition of the year award at the Estonian annual museum awards. Kadriorg Museum delighted visitors with the exhibition “The Dance of Colours: Finnish Modernist Art”. Nature lovers, in turn, enjoyed “The Forest Behind the Trees” at the Adamson-Eric Museum and “Setting Sail: Tiit Pruuli’s Art Collection” at the Mikkeli Museum.

Of the popular exhibitions opened last year, “Unframed: Leis, Tabaka, Rožanskaitė”, “melanie bonajo: When the body says Yes+” and “Borderless Universe in Their Minds: Italian Transavantgarde and Estonian Calm Expressionism” are still open at the Kumu Art Museum.

The new year at the Art Museum of Estonia will start on 1 January: today, the concert “Doubly majestic. Two trumpets and two organs” will open the 36th International Niguliste Organ Week. Besides evening concerts, the museum invites everybody to participate in interesting activities throughout the whole week. At noon each day, the colourful history of Niguliste will be explained by guest lecturers under the museum’s Christmas tree, at 3 p.m. people can visit the organ balcony with the organist Andres Uibo and, for half an hour at 4 p.m., an organ concert fills the church with music.

The Art Museum of Estonia is also the main partner of the Muzeum Susch in Switzerland, where the large overview exhibition “Anu Põder: Space for My Body” will open on 3 January. The exhibition is curated by Cecilia Alemani, who was also responsible for the 2022 Venice Biennale.

The 2024 programme of the Art Museum of Estonia can be viewed here.