The Estonian National Museum was founded in Tartu in 1909 on the initiative and with the support of the nation, in order to protect and develop history and culture of Estonia.
As in many other European countries, primary importance was attached to preserving of the old, fading peasant culture. Also considered essential were artifacts contributing to better understanding of cultural development, archaeological ﬁndings, old coins, books, manuscripts and historical records.
Over time, a number of other museums, archives and libraries were founded and the Estonian National Museum focused mainly on folk culture. Until World War II, the Estonian National Museum accumulated everything related to the Estonian national heritage. The fact that the museum had become a recognized memory institution by the 1930s was greatly supported also by contacts with foreign countries (Finland, Sweden, Germany, France etc), both in exchanging scientific literature, participating in study and research trips and scientific conferences and also through organizing exhibitions outside Estonia.
Today ENM preserves the feeling of continuity and tradition. The museum is the generator and developer of cultural dialogue which links the past and the future. ENM`s role as a centre of ethnological research is to record, study and interpret culture as a way of life, taking into account its periodical, spatial and social diversity. ENM`s function as a contemporary cultural and tourist centre is to show our culture`s uniqueness and primeval power of creation to every Estonian and visitor.
The main emphasis of research and collecting is on Estonian everyday life in the second half of the 20th century, as well as on the Estonian diaspora and audiovisual, archival and artefactual data from Finno-Ugric cultures. One can get acquainted with the results of collecting, preservation and research via exhibitions, conferences, lectures and Internet publications.
The ENM welcomes visitors in Tartu at J. Kuperjanovi, Veski and Rüütli streets, likewise at Narva road and in Heimtali in Viljandi county.
Through the museum’s exhibitions and events one can take a look to Estonians’ everyday lives in different periods. Interactive displays offer hands-on experience of means and facilities; it is possible to look Estonian home, explore Estonian cuisine and make oneself familiar with Estonian dress, language and customs. Attention is also drawn to the cultures of other nations, especially those of the Finno-Ugric peoples.
The museum offers film nights, musical events and workshops in national handicrafts, traditional design and traditional tools.
Guides provide museum tours, but also special programs, including family days on the theme of Estonian folk culture and the folk calendar, they also help to arrange a birthday party for visitors in all ages.
To book guided tours and programs: email@example.com or +372 7350 446
People are welcome to take part in museum activities and contribute their skills, knowledge and time as volunteers – one can supply collections, help to organize events, participate as a gardening team member in taking care of Raadi’s manor park and many other things.
With voluntary work you can both contribute to the promotion of Estonian culture and learn yourself by exploring the museum's work!
The Society of Friends of the ENM arranges briefings, fact-finding trips, exhibitions and major events on behalf of the museum. More than 1000 members belong to the society, both from Estonia and abroad. The society also involves a special department - the Society of Friends of the Postal Museum for everybody interested in postal history.
For more information, see www.erm.ee/selts.
Museum collections are always being replenished with stories, photos and artefacts from both long-time regular correspondents of the museum, as well as one-time contributors. Send us your story or photos! Contributions can be sent to us all year long. Additional details about collecting topics of the particular year can be found online at www.erm.ee/kirjasaatjad; www.eestihetked.ee.
For being in touch, join the ENM in Facebook or follow at Twitter (user: Memoryfield).
Look for our collections in Europeana, central gateway for the European cultural heritage, where the Estonian National Museum is currently preparing access to our photographic archives.
Raadi is one of the places with links to the Estonian people; this site symbolises at the same time the building and history of Estonian nationhood.
Raadi is situated on the border between the city of Tartu and Tartu Rural Municipality, on the grounds of the former Raadi manor. In the West, the area is bordered by a dense residential area, to the east and north-east lies the territory of Raadi airﬁeld, and to the north are tracts of agricultural land and areas of unused lands. The site encompasses the elongated Raadi lake with the Raadi manor complex (manor is built in 1783), including the park and the buildings on the Northern shore.
In 1922 Raadi manor house in the outskirts of Tartu was adapted for collections and exhibitions of the Estonian National Museum. Despite the ideologically controversial shell – a residence for Baltic German noblemen, which was both ideologically and culturally revolting for the Estonian peasantry – the museum at Raadi achieved a good reputation among the public. It turned out to be a success as an educational institution as well as a place for residents of Tartu and their guests to spend their leisure time.
In 1944, during the fighting between German and Soviet forces, the main building at Raadi was heavily damaged by fire. Subsequently, the territory of the museum at Raadi became a Soviet military air base. Raadi was the location of the largest Soviet military airfields in the Baltic region. The caponiers of Raadi airfield gave cover to over one hundred long-distance bombers. Because of the important military airfield Tartu was totally „closed city“ for foreigners and access to Raadi was restricted for fifty years. The museum`s collections were placed in temporary storages (mainly in churches) and the work of the museum was continued in various buildings in Tartu.
Strong identity, science-centeredness, rich collections and public support have given an impetus to the ENM for constant development. The original name of the ENM was restored in 1988. At the same time there rose hope of restoring the museum to its former site on Raadi estate.
In 1998 a Resolution was adopted by the Estonian Parliament that recognized the main Principles of the Estonian cultural policy. The Resolution envisaged the construction of a new building for the Estonian National Museum as one of the main priorities.
The ﬁnal decision for restoring ENM at Raadi was made in 2003. An architectural competition, which ended in 2006, gave a lot of ideas for the building of ENM’s new home and for the museum’s development. The project “Memory Field” by Dan Dorell, Lina Ghotmeh and Tsuyoshi Tane was chosen from 108 very diﬀerent projects.
With the Decree No.86 of the Government of Estonia from the 5th of March 2009, the project of the ENM was admitted to the list of „Development of nationally important cultural and tourism sites“ under the priority axis „Integrated and balanced regional development“ of the „Operational Program for the Development of the Living Environment“. Construction of the new building for the ENM is also included in the Government`s Action Plan for 2011 – 2015. At least now we have a hope that with the supportive finances of the European Regional Fund and the spirit of the European Cohesion Policy the building of the ENM will be constructed.
The authors of the project „Memory Field“ based their idea upon Estonia’s dramatic past – by denying signs from this era the Soviet occupation cannot, nor must not be erased from the nation’s memory. They should be given a new and hopeful meaning. The former runway included in the project area – the sign of occupation – can be seen as a dramatic space. It is not only a runway but a historic space scarred by military use.
In order to give the space a more powerful ‘voice’, the empty space is extended by the new open building which expands along the runway. Its slightly inclined roof – symbolising rising to the sky, moving towards the future – would serve as a so-called roof-ﬁeld with a view to the surroundings.
The mainly single-storeyed building extends from NE to SW, cowering nearly all of the housing district. It relates strongly with Lake Raadi as well as with surface forms surrounding the building, linking the city of Tartu with Tartu County.
The architects wish to change the area surrounding the new building as little as possible and preserve the locality’s characteristics and forms of nature.
Current ENM is an ethnologically and cultural-historically oriented museum which aims at reﬂecting everyday life and culture as a way of life taking into account its periodical, spatial and social diversity. The museum focuses on collecting, preserving and studying material concerned with the culture and history of Estonians, Estonian minorities and Finno-Ugric peoples and making it accessible. With the preservation and study of more distant peoples is dealt with on a smaller scale.
The ENM at Raadi is going to be a museum of cultures which preserves the story of Estonia’s nation, people and folk and talks about peoples of the world. The museum houses traditions, new aims and engaging dreams. The new museum will develop into a pleasant, interesting, attractive and gripping place for the young and elderly. Active environment is made for various activities and events. This way, ENM will develop into an important institution of region’s public life, education, science, spare time activities and tourism.
The new building will centre around two permanent exhibitions, which combine science and interactivity. New dynamic Estonian permanent exhibition looks into the past, present and future through peoples’ experiences, lives and emotions. Estonian exhibition tells the story of Estonian people, of unusual lives in particular. The exhibition does not only reﬂect Estonians, but all people who have lived on Estonian soil.
Permanent exhibition of Finno-Ugric peoples offers experiences and knowledge about the cultural space of peoples living in Northern Eurasia. The ENM’s collections’ treasures speak about Northern peoples through different times and conditions.
Temporary exhibitions introduce cultures and art projects from around the world. In addition, the new building will contain a multifunctional conference centre and cinema halls, library and a centre dedicated to the preservation of national cultural heritage and providing information, training centre of practical and theoretical teaching, a restaurant and cafés.
The ENM’s main building will develop into a nationally and internationally attractive place and into a pleasant, inspiring venue for meetings and events in Northern Europe and Baltic States.
Area of the project site: 411 212m²
Cubature: 261 000m³
Net area of the building: 33 876m²
Length of the building: 355, 8m
Wideness of the building: 71,7 m
Exhibitions’ area: 5 154m²
Repositories’ area: 8 139m²
Public space (entrance hall, multi-functional hall, auditorium etc): 7007m²
Active workshop area: 814m²
Laboratories, work rooms: 2134m²
Restaurant, cafe, museum shop: 1249m²
Dan Dorell, Lina Ghotmeh, Tsuyoshi Tane – DORELL.GHOTMEH.TANE | ARCHITECTS +33 1 43 38 12 47, firstname.lastname@example.org www.dgtarchitects.com
Hanno Grossschmidt, Tomomi Hayashi, HG Architects +6696719, email@example.com
Pille Lausmäe Architects, + 372 6276770
EA Reng +372 626 0000 firstname.lastname@example.org www.eareng.ee
Project team: Sate Real Estate Ltd, +372 6063400, www.rkas.ee