Kalamaja Museum is the winner of the Silletto Prize for Community Participation and Engagement 2024

The European Museum of the Year awards were presented by the European Museum Forum from 1 to 4 May 2024 in Portimãos, Portugal.

This year’s European Museum Awards are for museums that have been renovated or opened since January 2019.

Opening in September 2021, the Kalamaja Museum captures a slice of the region’s colourful character. The museum has become a welcoming place for locals and visitors alike, with exhibitions and public programmes showcasing the past, present and future of the district.

From the very beginning, this community museum was created with the people living in the surrounding area – the local community. The process of creating the museum with the people of Kalamaja was unique in Estonia. The idea for the museum was sparked by a survey of local people in spring 2018, followed by brainstorming sessions and meetings. Dozens of past and present Kalamaja residents have taken part in the creation of the permanent exhibition by donating objects and sharing their memories and photographs of life in the Kalamaja district. This autumn, the museum celebrated its second birthday.

Kristi Paatsi, the leader of the Kalamaja Museum, shared her team’s joy: “It is such great news that a small community museum has received such recognition. It means a lot to the people of the community who created the museum. I hope that this will further encourage other Estonian museums to think about their local communities and to work together with them.”

The Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum was also nominated. Congratulations!

All the nominees for the European Museum of the Year Awards can be found on the EMYA website.

Kalamaja Museum in the international publication CAMOC Review

We are pleased to announce that an article by Laura Jamsja, co-curator of the Kalamaja Museum, on the creation of the Kalamaja community museum has been published in the ICOM International Committee on Collections and Operations of City Museums (CAMOC) publication CAMOC Review. The article can be read HERE.


The Silletto Prize for Community Participation and Engagement celebrates a deep, continuous and empowering involvement between a museum and its stakeholders, that places the museum as a point of orientation and reference at the centre of its communities, whether these be local, national, global or otherwise defined.

The museum which has won this award is a small community-driven city museum that empowers its citizens by actively listening, enabling, and caring. Its core values and mission respond to the needs of its community partners. Residents and visitors are encouraged to participate in or initiate new events, exhibitions, tours, and events. This means it is a museum of action that constantly changes. It acts for and with people, and the quantity and originality of projects proposed to or by residents and co-created with a small museum staff is remarkable.