A brand new museum for the Baltic country of Estonia sheds light on its history demonstrating facets of its both lighter and darker days.
The Estonia National Museum allows visitors to time travel back along the 350 metres of its steel and glass length with displays that are innovative and refreshing in their overall presentation.
High-tech touch cards lets none-native speakers instantly change exhibit descriptions into the language of their choice.
One display clearly tries to encompass the darker days when it was then part of the USSR and even visiting the location of where the museum is now based in Tartu, Estonia’s second city it was strictly out of bounds.
Back in the late 20th century travel to Tartu was controlled by services like the KGB. As it was an area where one of Russia’s top and largest air force bases and nuclear weapons were located.
The airbase with its 3kilometre runway was from where nearby ICBM rockets and bombers could launch raids to many targets around Western Europe, including London and the UK.
Crossing an artificial prohibited area in the museum and you are instantly taken back in time and placed under a spot light that unnervingly follows you from high above. Mirroring in the exhibition the way that the Soviet state controlled and watched everything done by those living in or visiting Estonia during the that time from 1944 until in the 1990’s.
Skipping or running through the area the beam tracks your progress and the warning sign and concrete barriers of that period emphasises in this case the concrete curtain rather than the iron curtain!This stunning brand new building designed by three architects, Dan Dorell, Lina Ghotmoh and Tsuyoshi Tane had been a long time coming for the country and who’s first national museum was founded back in 1909. However since then their nationality was subdued in the 20th century by both the Russians and the Germans.
Today the country is independent and very proud. Although quite small, punches above its weight being a leader in high-tech industries and the Internet with Skype for instance being conceived and developed in the country.
ESTONIAN MUSEUM IS ALREADY A HIT
The current museum is tasked to protect and develop the history and culture of Estonia, which it does really well for both visitors and its local people.
With an emphasis on research and collecting also keeping track of the history of similar Finno-Ugric cultures that are to be found around the Baltic and as far away as Hungary.
It also houses Estonia’s most treasured possession, the very first flag ever made with its blue, black and white stripes and today it can be exhibited properly for the first time within the cavernous interior that also has a cinema, a restaurant lecture rooms and numerous and varied spaces that can be adapted in many ways to suit the needs of the museum well into the future.
Nearly 70,000 people have already visited the museum in just a few months. A trip to Estonia’s second city is well worth it to experience the building from outside, as it is truly stunning and also to see the many, many treasures within.