Kumu is the main building of the Art Museum of Estonia and one of the largest and most prominent exhibition venues in Estonia. In 1993–1994, an international architecture competition was organised for the construction of the museum’s new building. Participants from 10 countries submitted a total of 233 projects. The international jury unanimously awarded the victory to Pekka Vapaavuori from Finland for his design titled Circulos.
The museum was inaugurated on February 17, 2006. In 2008, Kumu won the title of the Museum of the Year awarded by the European Museum Forum. It is a remarkable international recognition of Kumu’s aspiration to be a truly contemporary art museum that is not only dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting art, but also providing a multifunctional space for various activities for people of all ages.
The museum consists of two main parts: Estonian art since early 18th century is displayed on the third and fourth floors, the fifth floor functions as a gallery of contemporary art. Art created before the Second World War is exhibited on the third floor and the Soviet period is covered on the fourth. Exhibitions of modern Estonian and international art are hosted on the fifth floor. The contemporary art gallery, however, is not just an exhibition space, but also a laboratory of ideas – a place where creativity can fly.
The international dimension is very important in Kumu’s activities: half of the alternating exhibitions (a total of 11–12 major projects across the four exhibition halls annually) present Estonian art, another half is dedicated to international art history and contemporary art.
Kumu’s ambition is to constantly contribute to both the Estonian
and international art world. Apart from the exhibitions, the
245-seat hall provides a venue for cinema and theatre shows,
concerts, seminars and conferences, while the educational centre
offers programmes and courses targeted at different age groups,
and the library provides the widest selection of art literature in