Special projects


A 24-hour E-quiz was held on March 27th and attracted 22,000 participants. The online quiz was open for participation from midnight to midnight. Users were given 30 minutes to answer 30 multiple-choice questions about cultural heritage; the quiz’s questions and answers built upon one another so that users could take advantage of the knowledge they learned in earlier questions. People, especially schoolchildren, were asked to play as teams. Many teachers gathered their students to take the quiz and used the process as a springboard for a discussion about heritage. The success of the E-quiz was substantial and subsequent initiatives of other subject fields have sought to replicate it.

Heritage on Rails

One of the most popular and visible initiatives of the year was the "Heritage on Rails" project. Railway Company Edelaraudtee AS generously offered free tickets for school groups 3 days a week over 6 months. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in April, May, September, October, and November empty seats on Edelaraudtee trains were donated to school groups going on heritage-themed fieldtrips. With the help of museums nearly 30 different destinations were developed that included both big museums and smaller stops of heritage value along the railway. Groups of students, some as young as six or seven traveled from all around Estonia to Tallinn, Tartu and Narva, but also to more remote towns such as Kiltsi, Võhma, Olustvere and Kohila. Thanks to this extraordinary project 6709 kids i.e. 5% of children received not only an inexpensive trip but also an opportunity to learn about heritage. For many of them this was both their first visit to a museum and their first train ride. Additionally, the project helped to promote ecological and sustainable transportation and of course enabled museums to attract new visitors. The project’s success has inspired new subsidy programs for the transportation for school children. 

Heritage Rally

The Estonian Open Air Museum and the National Heritage Board organized a series of informational days. "Rally Teams" which disseminated information about heritage travelled around in two cars featuring a special heritage rally design and had at least one "stop" in every Estonian county. The aims of the rally were to engage with people outside the office hours and not only to "teach", but also to "listen" and promote the exchange of knowledge between professionals and local people. This campaign created new networks and encouraged the local municipalities, museums, NGOs etc. to involve heritage specialists in different types of events going forward. 

Military Heritage Events

A series of excursions, lectures, and other events, were organized in cooperation with different military museums to promote the diversity of military heritage. A special focus was given to defence artefacts from the 20th century, which had previously been largely ignored in Estonia. This focus helped to attract and interest men, which was important since young males have historically been a demographic that has not actively engaged with the themes of heritage protection.

Photo competition "Oldest artifact in my home" for the youngest

A competition by the children’s’ magazine "Täheke" for the age 7-10 to describe the oldest thing found in child’s home fueled to investigate and discuss one’s own heritage with family. The competition was very popular bringing together not only the photos but also the stories about family jewelry or grandpa’s tractors.

Nation-wide art initiative "Intangible Cultural Heritage: living, exiting, colourful"

Estonian National Commission for UNESCO, the Folk Art Center and Sally’s Studio sponsored a nation-wide art initiative for the age 14-19. Starting in December 2012, the program ran in 33 schools across the country. Teachers were provided with special training how to lead children on heritage tours in their own neighborhoods. Children were then invited to create art inspired by their impressions and experiences. The artworks were first exhibited in local shows and on May 24, 2013 a national exhibition opened in City of Viljandi. This program was built around the idea how to inspire children to think of themselves not only as the stewards of the heritage, but also as the producers of heritage – cultural artifacts that may later come to be imbued with heritage values.

Students' Hometown Excursions

Tallinn’s Cultural Heritage Office, in collaboration with local schools, organized heritage-themed tours of Tallinn: the students guided pupils from other Tallinn schools in Tallinn Old Town. Through the program, more than 700 children were exposed to a new perspective on their hometown. After seeing how successful and well received this initiative was in Tallinn, the Year of Heritage campaign promoted similar events in many other Estonian cities so that children in towns throughout the country could learn to recognize and appreciate the cultural heritage that surrounded them on a day-to-day basis.

Supreme Court Contest

The Estonian Supreme Court hosted a fake trial for youths. Students were invited to present legal arguments about heritage issues such as copyright of traditional folk songs and the preservation of sacred forests. The students’ arguments were evaluated by Estonia's top judges.

Culinary Heritage in School Cafeteria

During October 2013 the Year of Heritage partnered with the NGO Finno-Ugric Tastes and Finno-Ugria Foundation to bring traditional tribal foods into the cafeterias of schools around Estonia. Schools hosted a Finno-Ugric tasting day and students were introduced to the idea of intangible heritage through tasty dishes!

Students' History Competition hosted by the President of the Republic

A traditional annual history competition among students was dedicated to the theme of cultural heritage and the awards were made by the President of the Republic. The contest gathered 139 participants.

Rural residents were another non-traditional audience that the Year of Heritage especially targeted. Programs like Heritage Rally helped to engage rural residents in the dialogue around heritage by bringing the discussion to them. Several other aspects of the Year of Heritage were strategically designed to ensure that all sorts of heritage, both rural and urban, were considered and that the programming was accessible to those living at a distance from urban centers:

City of Viljandi named as "Heritage Town"

Based on local initiative the Project Team decided to move the focus of the Year out of the capital city and to name Viljandi as the campaign’s official "Heritage Town". The Flag with the logo of the year was hoisted up the Viljandi flagpole in January 2013 during the outdoor Winter Dance Celebration and the town served as a nucleus of cultural activities throughout the campaign. By selecting the small and relatively remote Viljandi as a focal point for the campaign, the organizers helped show that heritage is part of the daily lives of not only those whose live in urban centers with museums and theatres, but also those living in rural places and remote towns.

Tartu Heritage Conservation Days 25

International Conference on Rural Heritage and Development

Enterprise Estonia and the European Union Region Regional Development Fund contributed to the Year of Heritage by hosting a conference in June 2013 dedicated to exploring the theme of “Agricultural and Rural Life Museums as Conservers of Rural Heritage and Their Role in the Development of International Tourism.” 

Seto Song Stamps

The Seto are a cultural group living in southern Estonia and in Russia around the Estonian southern border. Their traditional singing was inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009. As part of the Year of Heritage a special stamp celebrating Seto heritage was released by Eesti Post.

The Finno-Ugric Tasting Day

Estonia is one of many Finno-Ugric nations. To broaden the scope and understanding of heritage, the Finno-Ugric days annually celebrated in October were this year promoted with a special scope to attract teenagers. Promoting relative nations through their traditional food made the theme very exciting and gave an opportunity for the hands-on experience. Besides schools many adults joined in for a new and tasty attraction and paved the way for the traditional event.