Annual Night of Museums sets its sights on sounds this Saturday

Estonian Bicycle Museum in Väätsa (Estonian Bicycle Museum)
5/11/2015 1:29 PM
Category: Culture

With this year's theme set as "Music in the Night", over 150 museums and spaces across Estonia are set to host special exhibitions and events on the seventh annual Night of Museums this Saturday (May 16). A seminar exploring the role of the sound environment in museums and public spaces serves as the opening event of the week of the Night of Museums.

The seminar, entitled "Noise or Music in the Museum", takes place at the Estonian History Museum today, with professionals from the fields of exhibition and music discussing the role of sound environments in museums and public spaces, which have a greater influence on us than we may think, the Estonian Museum Assocation posits.

Among others, Estonian composers Helena Tulve, Taavi Tulev, Timo Steiner as well as Estonia's most renowned acoustic consultant Linda Madalik are slated to speak at the seminar.

In a largely visual-centric museum world, sound has garnered little interest. Regardless, sounds play an important role in how visitors perceive museum environments. How can we make better use of sound in everyday life? How do the experiences and expectations of music and museum professionals differ from those of the visitors? How should music be used in education? These are the questions to which the seminar seeks to answer, marking the start of the week of the Night of Museums as well as celebrations in anticipation of the International Museum Day on May 18.

According to Kersti Koll, one of the organizers of the seminar and member of the International Committee of Museums' (ICOM) Estonian national committee, the Night of Museums, alongside the International Museum Day, is an important event in encouraging discussion on the relevance of museums in the development of society. Museums strive to serve as meeting places and experiment labs, as well as engines of sustainable development. By providing a space for the synthesis of the past and the future, museums create a new understanding of sustainable lifestyles as well as both upholding and updating tradition.

"According to Statistics Estonia, Estonians hold the highest number of museum visits per number of inhabitants in Europe; we love our cultural heritage," added Koll.

This year's Night of Museums program includes a silent disco at the Estonian History Museum in Tallinn, concerts alongside interactive light installations at the Viinistu Art Museum on the northern coast of Estonia as well as hits from 1899-1944 played from shellac records at the Estonian Bicycle Museum in Väätsa in central Estonia. Participating museums and spaces offer free entry from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m., with the number of events and participating institutions still growing.

This year's Night of Museums takes place on May 16, with over 150 museums and exhibition spaces participating. The Night of Museums is a collaborative effort of Estonian museums, the Estonian Museum Association and ICOM. Last year's events, grouped under the thematic umbrella of "Stars in the Night", saw a record estimate of 84,000 visitors in attendance.

A. Kaer

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