Estonia has four public law cultural organisations, which have their own Acts: the Estonian National Opera, the National Library of Estonia, the Estonian Cultural Endowment and Estonian Public Broadcasting. These are supervised and financed directly by the Parliament (cultural committee).
After the re-independency in 1991, there have been two waves of désetatisation in cultural organisations: one in the early 1990s and one since 2013. Those institutional changes mainly mean that the Ministry of Culture closes state organisations and establishes (with the same assets, property and more or less the same aims) state-owned foundations (SA – sihtasutus). Foundations are preferred over state institutions as this form gives the organisation more flexibility in management and more opportunities to take regional or professional specifics into account.
Starting from 2012, the network of museums has been rearranged and the legal status of museums has been changed on the basis of the specifics of a museum and local circumstances. The state still manages seven state museums, and since 2012 the Ministry of Culture has established thirteen new museum foundations. Local governments now manage five former state museums.
A large number of public cultural institutions is owned and managed by local municipalities: cultural and community centres, public libraries, some professional city theatres and orchestras, and also local music-, dance- and visual arts schools. Fields like architecture, design, film and publishing are part of the private business sector.
There are numerous NGOs advancing cultural activities. There is a trend of establishing concert and festival organisations, museums on local history etc. as NGOs.