In 2022, the Estonian Open Air Museum celebrated its 65th anniversary. The biggest open-air museum in Estonia, which lies on 70 hectares on the territory of the former Rocca al Mare summer estate in Tallinn, was established on 22 May 1957. It is dedicated to the research of the architectural heritage and living conditions of Estonian country people. By now, 80 buildings from the 18th–20th centuries have been transferred to the museum, most of which are located in 14 farmyards. The newest development of the museum is a block of flats from the Soviet period
which introduces rural life in 1967, 1978, 1993, and 2019.
As this house has generated discussions about the necessity of displaying the recent history and/or difficult topics in an open-air museum, the Estonian Open Air Museum organized a conference “Recent history and its untold stories in open-air museums” on 19-21 October 2022
to exchange corresponding experiences with fellow museums in the Association of European Open Air Museums as well as colleagues in Estonia.
The conference began with an optional study excursion introducing the architectural heritage of the Soviet period in rural areas (on pre-booking). During the two days of the main conference, attendants were given the opportunity to listen to different topical presentations and take part in peer-to-peer learning, explore the Estonian Open Air Museum, and get acquainted with the new Kolkhoz apartment building
During the conference the museum also celebrated its 65th jubilee party.
Programme and recordings
Ene Kõresaar (University of Tartu, Estonia)
– Museum making memories with life stories: (How) Does it work?
Merike Lang (Estonian Rural Museums)
– Painful history: To speak or keep silent? Interpretations of the 20th and 21st centuries at the Estonian Open Air MuseumMiklós Cseri
(Hungarian Open Air Museum, Szentendre) – Social changes in the 20th century: Museum’s new interpretations.Aistė Lazauskienė
(Open-air museum of Lithuania, Rumšiškės) – Collaboration between museum and community at presenting the history of Soviet deportations to Siberia.
Thomas Bloch Ravn (Den Gamle By, Denmark)
- Modern times, difficult stories and dialogue with visitors in Den Gamle By’s 20th century area.
Malin Bäckström (Jamtli, Sweden)
– Roleplay programs for youth on conflicts, refugees and human rights.Zsolt Sári (Hungarian Open Air Museum, Szentendre)
- Museum presentation of social and historical traumas. Examples of the Hungarian Open Air Museum.Ioan-Cosmin Ignat (Romanian Open Air Museum ASTRA)
– Old and New Communities in Romania. The ASTRA Museum’s Role.Aive Peil, Agnes Kaasik
(Vabamu Museum, Estonia) - Value-based museum classes combined on Vabamu’s example
(Žanis Lipke Memorial, Latvia) - Best practice from Žanis Lipke Memorial
(National Museum of Finland, Helsinki) – On the exhibition "Story of Finland".
(National Museum of Finland, Helsinki) - The story of summer cottages and Finland…Maret Tamjärv Conclusions, summing up
Conference was supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment Act.