In the beginning of October, the Estonian National Museum finally opened its doors to the general public. The modern building is filled with pieces from Estonia's past and offers plenty of things for visitors of all ages to look at, listen to, watch, read and touch.
First founded in 1909, the old ethnographic museum now has a new location, form and content, while still preserving a feeling of continuity and tradition. The Estonian National Museum has adopted a truly user-centred approach, presenting vivid stories and engaging the audience by focusing on people and their life experiences.
The museum has two permanent exhibition areas with exhibitions presented fully in Estonian, English and Russian. The largest permanent exhibition in Estonia, entitled Encounters, describes the changes that have taken place in everyday life in Estonia, as examined through different cultural and social groups. The ENM's second permanent exhibition, Echo of the Urals, is dedicated to the Finno-Ugric peoples, giving a thorough insight into their traditions and rituals in their natural living environment.
The new building of the ENM is located near Tartu, the second biggest city of Estonia, on a former soviet military base. The vision of the architects was to re-use this site, a physically present 'ruin' of a painful history, giving it a new meaning that inspires hope. The National Museum becomes a continuation of the airfield – its roof lifting and expanding towards 'infinite space'. The building, observable as a piece of conceptual art, has already gained international recognition.