Three museum awards to UT for Parrot, mummies and tourist-friendliness

The University of Tartu Museum and Natural History Museum won three valuable awards at the Estonian annual museum awards ceremony at the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn on 19 January. The University of Tartu Museum received two Museum Rat awards for the best scientific event and the best collection development. UT Natural History Museum was awarded the special Rat Trap prize as the most tourist-friendly museum.

The university’s museum got the Best Scientific Event award for the 28th Baltic Conference on the history and philosophy of science “On the Border of the Russian Empire: The German University of Tartu and its first Rector Georg Friedrich Parrot”, held in Tartu from 18-20 May 2017. Topics of the presentations at the international conference ranged from the interpretation of a portrait to the first astrophysical observations made in Tartu.

The Best Museum Developer title was awarded to the UT Museum for their interdisciplinary research on the mummies in the museum collection and for promotion of the research results. The mummies were researched by a number of researchers of different fields: archaeologists, chemists, gene technologists, forensic/medical experts, a biologist, an anthropologist, the curator of the museum collection and the UT senior research communication specialist. The team applied the most up-to-date research methods, which resulted in research articles, a TV programme that attracted large viewership, an information seminar, availability of the research results at the exhibition, and educational programmes.

The special Rat Trap prize was handed to the UT Natural History Museum by the Estonian Tourist Board of Enterprise Estonia (EAS). Tourism experts highlighted the modern and rich, yet elegant and attractive exhibition of the natural history museum. Its exhibition embraces nature in its diversity; from the emergence of the universe to human evolution. The museum was also acknowledged for its easy wheelchair and pushchair access.

Tourists’ comments on TripAdvisor point out that the natural history museum is family-friendly and attractive for all ages, offers a combination of classical approach and modern solution, and its exhibition is exciting.

“It is the best recognition a museum could have in the year of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. This award is elevating and supports the visitor-oriented approach we have chosen,” said Vallo Mulk, Assistant Director of the UT Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden. “We want to develop the visitor centres of the natural history museum and botanical garden into attractive environments for nature education so that it would be interesting for people of all ages to visit us. We want to be the “rat trap” of the Tartu region, attracting a number of local and foreign tourists to visit the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden.”

The special prize for the most tourist-friendly museum was awarded for the seventh time. Earlier, the UT Natural History Museum has received the Universal Design Award from the Estonian Union of Persons with Mobility Impairment, and the title of Nationally Recognised Science Populariser from the Estonian Research Council.

Additional information:
Mariann Raisma, Director of the University of Tartu Museum, 522 1702,
Vallo Mulk, Assistant Director of the UT Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, 5695 0955,