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About the Museum

The aim of the Kumu Art Museum, opened in 2006, is to preserve and interpret Estonian art from the 18th century to the present day.

Kumu views its role as being an initiator of a social and cultural debate in connection with both expositions of art history and events in the Gallery of Contemporary Art, which has become an incubator for new ideas for domestic and foreign artists. Besides preservation, important tasks of the museum include displaying the works of art in its collections to initiate debates on their meaning and to shape various interpretative environments. In the fifteen years before Kumu was opened, people did not have constant access to the classics of Estonian art and the permanent display of Soviet art only became possible once Kumu opened. Our expositions need to speak to different audiences: to the well-versed and the relatively unknowing, the old and the young, local and foreign visitors, schoolchildren and to their teachers, art lovers and art experts.

In 2008, the Kumu Art Museum received the European Museum of the Year Award from the European Museum Forum.

Kumu. Kumu? Kumu!

In the spring of 2004, a public contest was announced to choose a name for the museum. The winner was Kumu, which is a combination of the Estonian words kunst and muuseum, i.e. art and museum. The word kumu in Estonian means a response, hearsay or rumour and it was quickly adopted by people as the name of the museum.

Come and celebrate Kumu’s birthday!

Each year on 17 February we celebrate the opening of Kumu to the public, which means that it is the birthday of Kumu on that day and all visitors are welcome!