In a proposal to the Ministry of Culture, the Estonian National Museum (ERM) wrote that the museum could be supported with €300,000 yearly to allow for the permanent exhibition to be made available for free. The exhibition will be made ticket-free starting from February 2 as a pilot project.
ERM director Alar Karis told ERR that the idea itself is at least a year old. "I spoke about it in January 2020, that our permanent exhibition, reflecting on the story of Estonian culture from prehistory to present day, could be made free," Karis said, emphasizing that the museum does not want to make temporary exhibitions free, only the permanent exhibition "Echo of the Urals".
"We calculated last year and it means €200,000-300,000 a year financially," he said and mentioned that if the culture ministry does not support them, it is still money that would reach the exhibition. "Our permanent exhibition is also designed in a way that some parts move occasionaly," Karis added.
"Regardless of whether the government finds the money so quickly, we will begin our pilot project on February 2 and will open the permanent exhibition for three month," Karis confirmed and noted that the museum will analyse the behavior patterns of their visitors from there.
"Currently, ticket prices for the entire museum cost €14, the permanent exhibition's price is €10 so there will be a financial resources missing, but I also believe that if a person has come to the museum and gets the permanent exhibition for free, their appetite grows and they will get a ticket to see other exhibitions as well," Karis noted.
Culture ministry Secretary-General Tarvi Sits said that the idea of a free permanent exhibition has come up earlier, but priorities this year are different. "A complete measure to make visitations to ERM free is not on the table currently, but the option that young people could visit ERM and other culture establishments for free is worth considering," Sits said.
The culture ministry official also believes that the main emphasis on culture establishments for 2021 will go toward survival. "I would point out for museums that large investments need to be made for heritage repositories, that collections would be kept, digitized and also digitally available," Sits said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste