On Saturday, 20th of May 2017, Estonian museums will open their doors for visitors for a night full of special events and exhibitions, celebrating the Night of Museums in Estonia for the 9th year running. In 2017, the much-loved Museum Night will take place under an umbrella theme of Games in the Night – or, in Estonian, Öös on mänge. Last year, more than 100.000 people took part of the Night of Museums, to enjoy both free access and the special programmes and excursions offered by museum teams all over Estonia. Around 200 different museums, art galleries, manor houses and other organisations are expected to open their doors for the 5-hour long event.
Since a wide variety of museums and other cultural organizations participate in the special programme, the Night of Museums makes it possible to discover a wide variety of outlooks on the topic of games and playing. Why do people play games? Why is playing fun? What kind of games have been played in Estonia at different times and what kind of games have travelled across time and history? Do animals and birds play games and why?  What are the most famous board games of all times? What types of play exist? Why do we like word play so much? How will we play tomorrow?
According to Laura Kipper, one of the main organisers of the big museum event, there are more and more tourists visiting Museum Night events across Estonia. “Visitors from Finland, Latvia and Russia have definitely discovered our Museum Night and our museums are recognising this as well, trying to provide more English tours and events during the night – or to make sure the event can be enjoyed to the full regardless of what language you speak.”
For tourists staying in Tallinn centre, the programme of the Museum Night is always just a few steps away: most of Tallinn centre museums are participating in the programme. “Ask your hotel reception for advice – they will be able to point you to the nearest participating museum, and there will be Museum Night programmes available at most museums,” adds Laura Kipper.
The museums participating in the programme will open their doors from 6pm to 11pm and during this time the entrance will be free – in previous years the number of participating museums has been close to 200 – for 2017, the special programmes and the final museum list will be public by April 10th. Every year the participating number of archives, galleries, churches and other organizations who deal with knowledge, history and memory, has grown.
The Night of Museums is organized by Estonian museums and the Estonian Museum Association.