Negotiating Food Heritage Interpretations: Experiences of a Project at the Estonian National Museum


  • Anu Kannike Estonian National Museum
  • Ester Bardone University of Tartu


food heritage, heritagisation, museum, research and development, small-scale food production


The article examines varied interpretations of food heritage in contemporary Estonia, relying on the authors’ experiences of a three-year research and development project at the Estonian National Museum (ENM). The study focuses on the museum researchers’ collaboration with different stakeholders, representing small entrepreneurs and the public and non-profit sectors. The authors tackle the partners’ expectations and outcomes of diverse cooperational initiatives and the opportunities and challenges of a contemporary museum as a public forum for discussions on cultural heritage. The project revealed that diverse, complementary, and contested food heritage interpretations exist side-by-side on the Estonian foodscape. Additionally, the project enabled the authors to become better aware of the researcher’s role in the heritagisation process and of the museum as a place for negotiating the meanings and values of food culture.


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