Museum Attendance Soars in Estonia, Reflecting Post-Pandemic Recovery

Museum attendance in Estonia has been on the rise, according to recent data released by Statistics Estonia. In 2022, there were nearly 2.7 million visits to museums in the country, indicating an increase compared to previous years. However, it is important to note that the attendance levels are still below the pre-pandemic figures.

The data revealed that Estonia is home to 170 museums, encompassing 227 museum sites. The most common types of museums in the country include place museums, thematic museums, and archaeology and history museums.

Eveli Voolens, the social statistics team lead at Statistics Estonia, highlighted that thematic museums and archaeology and history museums experienced the highest attendance rates. She noted that compared to 2021, there was a significant increase in the number of visits to thematic museums and natural history museums. Among children under the age of 9, thematic museums and science and technology museums were the most popular choices, while art museums and natural history museums had the lowest attendance rates within this age group.

When looking at the distribution of museums across counties, Harju county, which includes Tallinn, boasted the largest number of museums with 71, including 53 in the capital city. Following Tallinn, Tartu city and Lääne-Viru county had the next highest concentrations of museums. Voolens explained that the most popular museums in Tallinn were the Seaplane Harbour, Kumu Art Museum, and Kiek in de Kök museum. Throughout Estonia, the University of Tartu Natural History Museum, AHHAA Science Centre, and Seaplane Harbour attracted the highest number of visitors.

Interestingly, while Harju county and Tallinn had the highest number of museums, Tartu and Saare counties boasted the highest museum attendance per thousand inhabitants. On average, these counties saw 4 to 5 museum visits per inhabitant each year.

Furthermore, there has been a notable increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting museums in Estonia. In 2021, approximately 240,000 museum visits were made by foreign tourists, whereas in 2022, this number rose to around 700,000. Foreign tourists accounted for 26% of all museum visitors in the country.

The statistical activity of monitoring museums in Estonia is carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture. The classification of museums is based on the UNESCO classification system. More detailed data can be found in the statistical database, and additional information about museums in Estonia is available on the Statistics Estonia website.