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|Science Centre AHHAA|
|Established||1 September 1997|
|Founder||City of Tartu and the University of Tartu|
Science Centre AHHAA is the biggest science centre in Estonia and the Baltic states, located in Tartu. The main purpose of AHHAA is promoting science, technology and the scientific approach to solve common disadvantages.
Since 7 May 2011, Science Centre AHHAA has been located in a building in the centre of Tartu.
AHHAA was established as a project of the University of Tartu on 1 September 1997 and by 2004 it had developed into a foundation constituted by the city of Tartu and the University of Tartu. From the very beginning, the head of Science Centre AHHAA was Tiiu Sild. In 2008, the AHHAA 4D Adventure Cinema was opened in the Lõunakeskus shopping centre in Tartu. In 2009, a branch office of Science Centre AHHAA was opened in Tallinn at the Freedom Square (the Tallinn branch was closed at the end of 2013). On 7 May 2011 Science Centre AHHAA in Tartu opened the doors of its new, 11,156 m² building engineered by architects Vilen Künnapu and Ain Padrik in the heart of the city.
The activities of the Science Centre AHHAA Foundation are coordinated by a committee composed of Hannes Astok, Anneli Saro, Jaanus Karv, Mart Laidmets, Reno Laidre and Vallo Mulk.
Additionally, the practical aspects of the activities of the foundation are appraised by a science committee composed of experts.
Science Centre AHHAA offers a view of the starry skies in a fully spherical hybrid planetarium (which means that there is a possibility to show the skies with both optical and digital projection, which can be displayed either separately or together).
Constructional and technical side
The uniqueness of AHHAA's planetarium lies in the fact that in addition to the ordinary view on the ceiling and the walls, the image of the skies in the planetarium of the centre also extends under the floor, which is the reason why the floor of the planetarium is made of glass.
- 9 meters in diameter
- 20+5 seats
- The first planetarium in Europe to use the MEGASTAR projector
- Currently the first and the only hybrid-planetarium (multiple projector system) in the Baltic states
The AHHAA Planetarium belongs to two organisations:
- The Nordic Planetarium Association
- The International Planetarium Society
4D Adventure Cinema
Science Centre AHHAA had a 4D Adventure Cinema, located in the Lõunakeskus shopping centre on the southern edge of Tartu. The cinema was open from 18.07.2008 to 31.12.2017
The Science Centre AHHAA Foundation regularly organizes special events. Some of the most reputable events are listed below:
- The annual Researchers' Night Festival – organized all over Estonia in the end of September and consisting of different events promoting a scientific approach to matters (such as Science Cafés, science theatre shows, tours in laboratories, workshops etc.).
The Science Centre AHHAA Foundation participates in science festivals and fairs both in Estonia and abroad, its main “trade tricks” being the science theatre shows and various workshops. During the past few years Festival della Scienza and Perugia Science Fest in Italy, Korea Science Festival in South Korea, Moscow Science Festival in Russia, Science Picnic in Poland and Science Festival Belgrade in Serbia have been among the few places where Science Centre AHHAA has been represented.
Acknowledgements and credits
Science Centre AHHAA has been awarded with numerous prizes both for the building as well as for its intellectual achievements.
- At the TourEst2012 fair held on February 17–19, 2012 Science Centre AHHAA in Tartu was declared to be the best tourism destination in 2011 by the Union of Estonian Enterprises of Tourism .
- On February 16, 2012 the Tartu City Council posthumously awarded Tiiu Sild – the creator and leader of Science Centre AHHAA – with the title of the Honorary Citizen of Tartu .
- On December 19, 2011 Tiiu Sild, the head of Science Centre AHHAA received an award of courtesy for the year 2011, given out by a family magazine “Pere ja Kodu” .
- On December 7, 2011 Science Centre AHHAA in Tartu was awarded with the title “The Best Tourism Destination in 2011” by the Foundation South Estonian Tourism .
- On November 28, 2011 Science Centre AHHAA in Tartu won the competition of the Achievement of the Year .
- On November 11, 2011, during the scientific media conference called “MIDA?!” the head of Science Centre AHHAA, Tiiu Sild, was announced to have been awarded the lifetime achievement award for popularising science. .
- Between November 2 and 5, 2011 at the IFD Congress held in Dublin, Ireland the roof of Science Centre AHHAA constructed by Nordecon, presided over by Peeter Voovere, was announced the World’s Best-Built Roof in 2010-2011 in the category of metal roofs 
- On October 7, 2011 the footprints of Tiiu Sild, the head of the Science Centre AHHAA, were permanently paved into the alley of famous and influential citizens of Tartu .
- On March 4, 2011 Science Centre AHHAA won the title of “The Best Building in Tartu 2010” in the category of other new buildings .
Donors and sponsors
The activities of the Science Centre AHHAA Foundation are funded and sponsored by many academic institutions but close-knit relationships have been established with collaboration partners from private and public sectors as well:
The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, the City of Tartu, the University of Tartu, Haribo, Laima, AGA Estonia, Tallegg, Nordea Bank, the Environmental Investment Centre, The Rakvere Meat Factory, A.Le Coq Tartu Brewery.
- Aru, Margus (March–June 2012). "Under One Dome: AHHAA Science Centre Planetarium". Planetarian: Journal of the International Planetarium Society. 41 (2): 57. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
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