This year's coveted annual Estonian "Friend of Museums" award has been won by museum fanatic Krista Roolaid. Roolaid visited 190 Estonian museums in just seven months and is the first museum visitor to have ever been awarded the title.
2023's Estonian "Friend of Museums" Krista Roolaid has a special notebook in which she notes down all the museums she has visited and which ones she would like to return to. Roolaid has visited several museums more than once, with new exhibitions making every subsequent visit special for her.
"I started out with the museum map in April and set myself the goal of having a museum year. That meant visiting as many museums as I could in a year. In the beginning, I was driven by a great curiosity. Once most of it was done, curiosity gave way to a thirst, which drove me on to even more. This Sunday I reached the beautiful total of 190 museum visits in seven months," said Krista Roolaid, 2023 Museum Friend of the Year, upon accepting the award.
"Going to a museum reminds you of your dreams, helps you appreciate the past and also has an inspiring effect. In some museums, you feel as if you are putting your own colors on the canvas," Roolaid added.
The title of "Friend of Museums" is awarded by the Estonian Museums Association in recognition of individuals, who have distinguished themselves through their professional or social activities in support of Estonian museums.
Alongside Roolaiu, there were two other nominees for this year's award. Cultural historian Enn Lillemets picked up a nomination for his long-standing and meaningful work for Tartu City Museum and the Art Museum of Estonia, as did the KinoTeater, which donated €10,000 of its operating grant to the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM).
"Although all this year's nominees for the Friend of Museums title were all worthy of the award, this year we had the unique opportunity to recognize the museum visitor and person on whose behalf and for whose benefit museums all over Estonia are operating every day," said Kerttu Männiste, head of the Estonian Association of Museums.
The title of Friend of Museums has been awarded in Estonia since 2007.
The first award went to Pertti Juhani Pyhtila, a Finnish Estophile, who as an enthusiast of Estonian culture and active mediator between Estonian and Finnish museums, made a valuable contribution to the cooperation between the two countries' museums.
More information about previous winners is available here.
Editor: Michael Cole