New Permanent Exhibition of UT Natural History Museum Opens for Exploration

On January 16, the University of Tartu Natural History Museum unveils its new permanent exhibition 'Earth. Life. Story' that weaves together geology, zoology, botany and mycology. On the first two days, January 16 and 17, the doors of the Museum are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The renovation costs amounted to more than two million euros, most of which was provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Environmental Investment Centre (EIC).

The exhibition takes the visitor on a tour of the Earth's natural history from the earliest ages of our planet to the present day. According to Urmas Kõljalg, Director of UT Natural History Museum, the new permanent exhibition is a crucial step on the way to becoming a member of the family of the world's leading natural history museums. 'The exhibition and the learning environment that the museum now has are a proper match to the unique IT solutions and rich research collections that it possesses,' said Kõljalg.

Andrus Kimber, member of the board of the EIC, said he was very glad that, thanks to European funding, the EIC was able to support the overhaul of the museum's exhibition as a whole. 'The injection of funds was necessary to modernise the exhibition that dates from the previous century, thus enriching the environmental education offered in Estonia and raising its quality to a very high level,' said Kimber. The EIC channelled 1.87 million euros of ERDF funding to the project, the university's match funding amounted to 298,000 euros.

Visitors are invited to wonder at Estonia's largest trilobites and a Devonian placoderm, examine the evolutional ancestors of humans and study scintillating minerals. In the biodiversity hall, they can observe the 'night airport' of moths, be amazed by the 'evil palm tree' and look in the eye of the first jackal caught in Estonia. The hall of life patterns invites visitors to explore its dioramas that depict communities that can be found along the Tartu meridian, and a freshwater aquarium.

In the live animal corner, children can meet their old friends the Japanese Rat Snake and Mexican Redknee Tarantula, who have recently been joined by a new inhabitant — a Green Iguana. The adults may delight in their re-encounter with the taxidermal giraffe, bison, moose and wolves, the favourites of many generations.

In addition to overhauling the exhibition, the Natural History Museum was able, for the first time, to create access facilities in the museum for visitors with a walking disability.

On the first two days, January 16 and 17, the doors of the Natural History Museum are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Further visitor information is available on the museum's website at

Work on the new permanent exhibition of the UT Natural History Museum and the museum's classrooms was completed with support from the ERDF environmental education infrastructure development programme that was administered by the Environmental Investment Centre Foundation.

Further information:
Eva-Liisa Orula, Communication Manager of UT Museum of Natural History, telephone: +372 5342 2139, e-mail:;

Elina Kink, Communication Manager of the Foundation Environmental Investment Centre, telephone: 5687 5797, e-mail: