Shitasutus Teaduskeskus AHHAA (AHHAA)

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Shitasutus Teaduskeskus AHHAA
Abbreviation AHHAA
Location Estonia
Website Official Website

Relation to Future Worlds Center

Partners with Future Worlds Center in the MARINA project.

The Shitasutus Teaduskeskus AHHAA, founded in 1997 as a special project of the University of Tartu, is currently operating as a foundation supported by the Government of Estonia, the City of Tartu and the University of Tartu and being able to undertake bold developmental work due to successful ticket sales, is a relatively small institution. The science centre, being the biggest in the Baltics, has over 70 employees, is located in a building in Tartu constructed especially for the centre but opened, after years of lobbying, in 2011- the building has about 2100 m2 of exhibition space displaying about 100 permanent hands-on exhibits and a new temporary exhibition once in every 6 months. In addition to the exhibits, AHHAA offers its visitors various workshops ranging from physics to psychology, art to mathematics and chemistry but also science theatre shows and the ability to visit the one-of-a-kind fully spherical planetarium.

AHHAA is also an internationally renowned cooperation partner in several organisations. Currently, AHHAA is the chair of Nordisk Science Center Forbund (NSCF) and is a member of board of the European Network of Science Centres and Museums (ECSITE). Additionally, AHHAA is an active member of European Science Events Association (EUSEA) and International Planetarium Society (IPO). AHHAA is also an active partner in different international projects, such as PLACES, a cooperation between 69 cities and towns from all over Europe that lasts until 2014. In addition to that, AHHAA is a member of FOODWEB, a project that aims to demonstrate the connections between people, quality of food and environment.

AHHAA welcomes families, tourists and school groups not only from Estonia but also from Latvia, Russia and Lithuania. AHHAA’s annual visitor numbers crossed the 200 000 border in 2014 (as a point of reference, Estonia has just over 1 million inhabitants and Tartu slightly less than 100 000 citizens). The explainers working at AHHAA have all received special training and are mostly university students from different fields of science.

On top of the regular everyday activities offered by AHHAA at the science centre building itself, the science centre also organizes special events, such as the annual Researchers’ Night Festival in September, thematic days on space, robotics, genetics and much more, outreach programmes to remote areas of the country, public engagement activities (science cafés, science communication conferences), performances at international science festivals (in Poland, Serbia, South Korea, Russia) and offers consultation services to aspiring science centre developers in nearby geographical regions. During the past year, a special programme for school groups called “AHHAA Education” has been developed and offered as an out-out-classroom interactive learning method for primary and secondary school children, in line with the national curricula and covering the main competency subjects of the Estonian education system (such as mathematics, biology, physics and geography). As a local innovator, AHHAA strives to be the leader in introducing new ideas to the Estonian community. As an example of such an attitude, AHHAA organized the very first Maker Faire of the region in Tartu as part of the Researchers’ Night Festival 2014 (the event was called Tartu Mini Maker Faire). The Mini Maker Faire attracted over 150 makers and over 1000 visitors and included activities encouraging grass root experimenting (such as the constructing of DIY solar panels or extracting DNA). The Mini Maker Faire’s success encouraged AHHAA to organize it again in 2015. AHHAA is also Baltic HUB for responsible research and innovation – RRI.

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