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Honorary Members

The Museum Association recognises colleagues who have special merits in the development of Estonian museums or the activities of the association as honorary members. Any member of the association can nominate candidates for honorary membership. A proposal is made to the management board, who presents the candidates for honorary members to the general meeting for approval by a two-thirds majority. From 2018, new honorary members receive spearhead badges designed by the jewellery designers Piret Hirve and Eve Margus-Villems.

    Mall Siniveer is the backbone of the Harju County Museum. As one of the founding members, she has worked at the museum since its establishment in 1991. Before that, she worked at the Estonian History Museum for two decades. She has also won the Keila Culture Award (2012) and the Harju County Museum’s St George’s Award (2018). Mall has been involved in the activities of the Estonian Museum Association and has collaborated with many museum professionals in their collection and exhibition work.

    Honorary member of the EMA since 16 June 2020.

  • Ülle Kruus

    Ülle Kruus is an outstanding museum professional nominated as our honorary member twice. Ülle, along with Tõnu Pani, Ildike Jaagosild, Helgi Põllo and many others, was among the group of activists that created the Estonian Museum Association and drafted its first articles of association in 1989. Over the years, Ülle has smoothed out many explosive situations in the museum landscape with her excellent diplomatic skills, always being happy and helpful. She’s a person whose eyes are always bright. Ülle has been a member of the management board of the EMA and is a member of the Estonian Society of Art Historians.

    As the long-time director of the Adamson-Eric Museum of the Art Museum of Estonia, she is still active in the museum landscape.

    Honorary member of the EMA since 13 April 2018.

  • Piret Õunapuu

    Piret Õunapuu is a woman like an orchestra. We know her as an excellent curator, ethnologist and author of books. Piret began her professional work at the Estonian Open Air Museum in 1979, where she focused on researching farm architecture and furniture. But she left her heart in the Estonian National Museum, where she has worked for almost 40 years. For many years, Piret has been a member of the board and chairman of the museum association, the editor-in-chief of our magazine Muuseum, and the leader and organiser of numerous professional conferences and joint museum projects.

    Honorary member of the EMA since 13 April 2018.

  • Aime Kärner

    Aime Kärner is a warm, cordial and elegant lady who has dedicated herself to museum work for more than half a century. She finds her way between storage shelves, paper and digital documents as easily as in the culture sphere. Aime is a great colleague with a strong backbone and an excellent sense of humour who has supported several generations of younger museum professionals with her experience. In addition to her job, she is involved in several academic women’s organisations and finds time to be a great grandmother to ten grandchildren.

  • Eve-Mall Peets

    A radiant lady, the legendary head of collections at the Estonian History Museum who worked in the museum for 44 years and has brought up many active museologists, preserved cultural heritage, converted many laypeople into museum enthusiasts and always been there for all of us.


    Tõnu Pani is indispensable for the museum association – he was one of the founding members and was elected as the association’s first chairman in 1989. A geology, science and museum professional, Tõnu is diligent and helpful in his job and finding solutions to the most complex issues. For us, Tõnu is also the memory bank of the association – if no one else knows, Tõnu still remembers. Tõnu Pani works in the Natural History Museum of the University of Tartu and is an elected member of the internal audit committee of the EMA.

    Honorary member of the EMA since 1 June 2014.

  • Helgi Põllo

    You say Hiiumaa, you think Helgi Põllo.
    While studying history at the State University of Tartu, the active student found time for the university’s women’s choir, mountain hiking school, history club and handball team, as well as fieldwork with fraternal peoples, while keeping her home island in her heart the whole time.
    Although she could start a job in Tartu or even Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) after graduating in 1979, nothing outweighed Hiiumaa. For many years, Helgi worked as the head of collections at the Hiiumaa Ethnography Museum. Now, she manages museum and other affairs of her home island as the research director at the Hiiumaa Museums Foundation. According to her, working in Hiiumaa has allowed her to do what she really likes. That is why Hiiumaa and its people have been thoroughly researched from various angles under her leadership. However, Helgi has always been willing to move about the country and apply her accumulated knowledge and ideas to organising the entire Estonian museum landscape, including as a member of the management board of the Estonian Museum Association for many years.
    Always cheerful, active and bursting with ideas – that’s what Helgi Põllo is like.

    Honorary member of the EMA since 1 June 2014.

  • Heivi Pullerits

    Known as the grand lady of Estonian museums, Heivi Pullerits has devoted 50 years of her life to developing the Estonian museum landscape.
    A founding member and chairman of the Estonian Museum Association, she is one of the drafters of the first Estonian Museum Act, whose merits are difficult to overestimate. As a long-time director of the Tartu City Museum (1979–2002), she established three new museums: the 19th-century Tartu Citizen’s Home Museum, the KGB Cells Museum, and the Karl Ristikivi Museum, which is no longer operating.
    The wonderfully knowledgeable expert of Tartu’s culture and history spent her free moments singing in the Academic Female Choir and the Alumni Choir of the University of Tartu. She contributed more than 50 years to this activity, too!

    Heivi Pullerits in memoriam 10 December 2013.

  • Endel Valk-Falk

    Known as the ‘spiritual father’ of the Estonian conservators, Endel Valk-Falk started his conservation career in 1967 by establishing the Restoration Department at the University of Tartu Library and managing it for almost ten years.
    In 1975, he became the conservation director at the Estonian Art Museum. Endel’s dream of establishing a central conservation unit to serve all Estonian museums came true in 1986 with the establishment of the Republican Conservation Centre (today’s Kanut).
    A leather artist, binding conservator, master of arts, and long-time chairman of the Association of Restorers, he led the publication of the brochure Muuseumi varahoidja meelespea (Aide-mémoire for Collection Managers) and the bulletin Renovatum ANNO.

    He’s a man who has inspired many of today’s professionals with his good humour, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit.

    Endel Valk-Falk in memoriam 18 September 2019.

  • Aleksei Peterson

    Known to friends and colleagues as Petu, Aleksei Peterson was among the first graduated ethnologists at the Department of History of the University of Tartu who devoted his entire life to ethnology.
    Serving as the director of the Estonian National Museum for 34 years, he went on countless expeditions to study the Finno-Ugric peoples, laying a solid foundation for the present Echo of the Urals exhibition. The tradition of Estonian ethnological films and Estonian National Museum yearbooks, the Muuseum magazine and the idea of re-establishing the Estonian National Museum at Raadi were born under his leadership.
    A grand man with a splendid beard, he wrote more than 100 research articles in his lifetime.

    Aleksei Peterson in memoriam 27 July 2017.

  • Ildike Jaagosild

    Ildike Jaagosild came from a culture-loving family. Her father was a schoolteacher, cultural worker, poet and an active member of society; her grandfather was the author Jakob Liiv.
    lldike’s interest in museums began with an excursion to the Leningrad Hermitage.
    In 1957, she joined the Ethnography Museum (now the Estonian National Museum), where she was a senior researcher, head of collections and acting director of research. Her particular interest was summer fieldwork, which offered interaction with country people to collect artefacts and folklore.
    From 1973 she worked for 20 years as a senior researcher and head of collections at the Estonian Agricultural Museum, and from 1995 as the managing editor of the Muuseum magazine. Ildike herself has said that her work in the museum absorbed her so much that she sometimes forgot to pick up her children from kindergarten.
    She has made a significant contribution to the creation and opening of the Juhan Liiv Museum.
    Ildike remained a museum enthusiast even in retirement, participating in many museum events and the Museum Association.

    Ildike Jaagosild in memoriam 4 January 2020.

  • Aleksander Krull

    Aleksander Krull is an honorary citizen of the town of Võru, and a man like an orchestra! He has been actively involved in cultural life in Võru since 1943: as an actor, piano player and tutor, founder of the Võru Symphony Orchestra, member of the county song festival organising committee, conductor of the Kannel female choir and the Tervis and Kandle mixed choirs.
    From 1951, he started his career at the Dr F. R. Kreutzwald Memorial Museum, where he worked for more than 50 years, including 46 years as the director. On his initiative, a renewed exposition was built. The house was furnished according to the Kreutzwald period, and for the first time in Estonia’s history, a museum building was designed and built for the museum’s needs. The Mõniste Museum and the observation tower on Suur Munamägi became branches of the Kreutzwald Museum under Krull’s leadership.
    He started a local nature conservation movement in 1950 and ethnographic research activity in 1953.
    Krull could solve seemingly impossible situations with his persuasion and motivation abilities. These were crucial skills for achieving and accomplishing something in the circumstances he worked in.
    Aleksander Krull was a musician by heart; he has written poems and composed songs.

    Aleksander Krull in memoriam 1 October 2010.

  • Peet Sillaots

    Peet Sillaots, the then director of the Tallinn University of Technology Museum, was elected an honorary member of the Museum Association on 16 December 1994. From 1965 to 1989, he was the director of the State History Museum of the Estonian SSR, and later, until his death, the director of the Tallinn University of Technology Museum.

    Peet Sillaots in memoriam 2 April 1996.

  • Hilja Sild

    Hilja Sild was elected an honorary member of the Museum Association on 16 December 1994. She had been active at the Estonian National Museum since the 1930s. She made a huge contribution to Estonian ethnography as a rescuer of ethnographic objects in the 1940s.  In 1940, she went on a rescue expedition to Saaremaa to save local artefacts from being destroyed in the war.  During the war, she led the inventory team as one of the enthusiasts who organised the evacuation of the museum.

    Hilja Sild in memoriam 19 February 1995.

  • Hilja Lätti

    Hilja Lätti, former research director at the Art Museum of Estonia, was elected an honorary member of the Museum Association on 16 December 1994.

  • Leila Pärtelpoeg

    Leila Pärtelpoeg is one of Estonia’s most outstanding interior architects. Her creations can be seen and experienced in restaurants and manors, cafes and museums. Pärtelpoeg is a valued designer of modern solutions and historical interiors and has received numerous awards for her work. Her knowledge of historic furniture and interiors is vast – but behind this is an extraordinary person.

    In her long creative career, Leila has made many successful designs of historical buildings, among them a number of manors such as Palmse, Sagadi, Rägavere, Vihula, Kolga, Järlepa, Saku etc. Her hand can also be felt in the Tallinn Town Hall and Toompea Castle. She has designed Fr. R. Kreutzwald House Museum in Võru and Tartu Citizen’s Museum.

    Leila Pärtelpoeg is a sensitive, dedicated designer who describes her creative process as follows: “A big empty house. The only thing you know is the family tree: births, marriages, deaths, generations, constructions… Strange lives, about which something is known, but not how they lived. You stand in front of empty spaces and have to create a network, not knowing your future possibilities and what truths may be revealed. You want to get closer to the truth, choose correctly. The choice depends on the opportunities that are offered.” (Leila Pärtelpoeg. Workbook. Tartu 2011, p. 75)