Museums in Tartu

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Estonia
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AHHAA Science Centre
Want to surprise yourself? The AHHAA Science Centre offers science, excitement, adventure and useful skills, as well as a fun time for everyone. Our centre is an attractive learning environment in which you are bound to learn something new. The majority of our exhibits are 'hands-on', so you can try everything yourself, whether it be the planetarium, the school laboratory pilot programme, creating educational materials or the science theatre. You can even host your own birthday party here.
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Upside Down House
What to do with your family, children, friends, guests, or colleagues in Tartu? Are you looking for new experiences and great photos? You have come to the right place! The Upside Down House is an exciting and dizzying experience where all of this is possible. The Upside Down House has furniture, a refrigerator, and everything else which is usually found on the floor – but here, they are on the ceiling. Well, actually, they are on the floor, but here, the ceiling is the floor. But wait – maybe it is you that is upside down? The house is also slightly sloped to test your balance. All of this is confusing, funny, and exciting :) The visit takes about 30 minutes – during this time, you will experience the house fully and are able to take cool pictures as well!
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Tartu Toy Museum
Tartu Toy Museum, situated in the Old Town of Tartu, takes adults back to the brighter days of their childhood and offers children plenty of interesting things to see and do. The permanent exhibition displays toys that Estonian children have played with throughout the years. Artist-made dolls, souvenir dolls of different nations, and Finno-Ugric traditional toys are also exhibited. Playrooms and workshops are also open. You can see puppets from Estonian puppet films and temporary exhibitions in the outbuilding. The museum also has a theatre building named ’Teatri kodu’ (The Home of Theatre) with a theatre hall, a museum of puppets, and a children’s studio.
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A. Le Coq Beer Museum
Tartu is the birthplace of beer brewing in Estonia and it has been a beer city for almost 1,000 years. A beer museum was opened on the territory of the A. Le Coq Brewery in 2003 to introduce the history of industrial beer brewing. It also provides the most thorough overview of the history of beer in Estonia, its culture, and origin story. Almost 2,000 items are exhibited in the malt tower built in 1898, including an original bottle of Imperial Extra Double Stout from the year 1869. All museum visits end at the museum pub, where guests can sample A. Le Coq’s beverages.
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Viljandi Museum
The museum is located in an old pharmacy , with a permanent exhibition on two floors reflecting the history of Viljandi County until the mid-20th century. Wildlife showcases contain many animal and bird species that are special favorites for the smallest visitors.
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The Red Tower
The Red Tower was built in the 15th century as a prison in the Southeastern corner of the medieval fortress that surrounded the town of Pärnu. It is the only defensive tower of the Hanseatic town of New-Pärnu that has been preserved. This granite tower got its name from the brick that used to line the inside and outside of the tower. In the 17th century, the tower had four storeys and a prison cell that was 6 metres deep. Three storeys have been preserved. In the 19th century, the building was renovated into the town archives, but the building served a number of different purposes over the following century.
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Paernu Museum
The Pärnu Museum is one of the most modern historical museums in the Baltics and offers an experience for the whole family. Permanent exhibition "The History of 11,000 Years - Experience from Ancient Times" brings you an exciting time line through the Stone Age, the medieval trade routes, the Baroque Fortress to the nostalgic Soviet period.
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Narva Museum
Narva Museum today – it is the Narva stronghold, the Northern Courtyard, and the Art Gallery. These are more than architectural monuments, as the castle and the gallery also have exhibition halls. The exhibition of Narva castle talks about the history of Narva from the 13th century until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1991, the Art Gallery was opened. This allowed the museum to host Estonian and foreign art exhibitions in addition to displaying its own art collection. In 2007, Põhjaõu was opened as a new tourist attraction in the Northern Courtyard of the castle; this is how Narva Museum interprets the district of artisans dating from the 17th century.
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Tostamaa Manor
The beautifully renovated Tõstamaa Manor has a colourful history and it is one of the best-known sights in the area. Even though it has a late classicist appearance, the manor was established in the Middle Ages. It has been used as a school since 1921. You can go on a tour of the manor where you will learn about its history and see its rooms. The wall and ceiling murals, the beautiful main staircase and the room under the mantle chimney are particularly impressive. Useful information! The last owner of the manor was Alexander Stael von Holstein, a famous Orientalist who even became a professor at the University of Beijing. The crown of the manor, which is under heritage and nature conservation, is oak with a top whose diameter is 23 m.
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Bank of Estonia Museum
The Bank of Estonia Museum is situated in a historical building in the heart of Tallinn constructed in 1904 as the headquarters of Aadlipank. The exhibition rooms shelter history – video clips, interactive games and virtual displays showcase the history of Estonian money, the activities and role of the Bank of Estonia in the eurozone and how money is made. You can have a chat with the waxworks of the cultural figures who once featured on Estonian kroons, check the authenticity of bills and differentiate real bills from forged ones, predict the economic development, and manage the external assets of the central bank. At the museum shop, you can exchange Estonian kroons into euros or buy souvenir coins and other souvenirs. You can also pre-book a tour.
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Kiek in de Koek
This massive, 38m-high cannon tower houses an extensive museum of the town's fortifications, weapons and medieval-era life.
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Niguliste Museum
Exquisite altarpieces, medieval burial slabs and other works of religious art can be seen in this 1230-era church-turned-museum. Saints, dancing skeletons and silver – not to mention the occasional organ concert – are the main attractions here.
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Fat Margaret Museum
Listed in UNESCO heritage, the complex provides an overview of maritime trade, agencies, and navigation in the Middle Ages, as well as in the era of sailing, steam, and motor ships. There is a total of 1,000 m² of exhibition space. The star exhibit is the 700-year-old Koge wreck found in Kadriorg in 2015. There are about 70 ship models out of which 17 have been created specifically for the exhibition, nearly 700 items, and 50 digital and hands-on solutions.
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Haapsalu Castle
Haapsalu Castle is an architectural gem built in the 13th century, which until the end of the 17th century was the seat of power of the local authorities. The museum in the main castle focuses on the history of the castle itself. You can learn about the construction of the castle, the birth of the town of Haapsalu, and the fate of the rulers and locals of the Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek. In order to better understand the life of that time, guests can try out different mechanisms. The passages on the walls offer a wonderful view of the castle and the picturesque town of Haapsalu.
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Railway and Communications Museum
The former terminal station of the railway was constructed between 1903 and 1905 to serve the resort town of Haapsalu. With its mysterious and grand station building, it now invites you to discover the nearly century and a half of Estonian railways and retired iron horses. During the time travel in the old station with an unusually long roofed platform and a royal pavilion, you can hear the sound of a locomotive and meet the courteous station master from the 1930s. In addition, we welcome you on a trip through the fascinating world of telecommunications and to explore the development and history of communication devices from telegraphy and crank telephone to mobile phones and computers.
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Museum of the Coastal Swedes
This museum in Haapsalu introduces the thousand-year-old settlements of the coastal Swedes in Estonia. In the house inaugurated by the King of Sweden, you can acquaint yourself with their unique cultural heritage and see a 20-metre embroidered rug that depicts the life of the Estonian Swedes. There is a scene where Swedish peasants bought Large-Pakri Island from the Padise Monastery for 34 silver marks in 1345. Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf had great words of praise for the pictorial rug! In addition, other interesting events are organised and traditional wedding feasts are held. Good to know: the museum houses several traditional wooden boats typical of coastal Swedes.
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Riga Art Nouveau Centre
The Riga Art Nouveau Centre is the only museum in the Baltics that presents a complete picture of the historical heritage of Art Nouveau and offers an authentic environment for discovering and savouring Art Nouveau in an early 20th century apartment in Riga.
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Suomenlinna
World Heritage Site Suomenlinna is a cultural treasure. Its construction began in the mid-18th century, when Finland was still part of Sweden. The development of tourism began after the wars in the 20th century, and in the 21st century, the Suomenlinna sea fortress is one of the most popular attractions in Finland. Today, the fortress and its museums, restaurants and events are a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. Suomenlinna is not only a popular visitor attraction but also a home of 800 residents. The number of visitors to Suomenlinna has continued to grow, and with over 900,000 visitors every year, the sea fortress is one of Finland’s most popular tourist destinations. Suomenlinna attracts visitors from both Finland and abroad: it offers an ideal environment for exploring a historical world heritage site, or just spending a day relaxing. Many visitors come to the island during the summer, but the number of wintertime visitors is steadily growing.
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Ateneum Art Museum
The Ateneum is Finland’s best-known art museum and the home of Finnish art. The images held by the Ateneum are ingrained in the collective memory of the Finnish people: the beloved works in Ateneum’s collections date from the period from the 19th century to the modern age.
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Pentala Archipelago Museum
The Pentala Archipelago Museum is located on an old fisherman’s estate on Pentala Island in Espoonlahti Bay. The museum area consists of fifteen different buildings. The oldest one is a fisherman’s cottage built in the early 1790s. The fisherman’s estate was inhabited year-round until 1986. Espoo’s maritime side is at its best on Pentala Island. The Archipelago Museum showcases life in the archipelago, from housing and hard work to villas and leisure activities. In the summer, the museum area is full of things to see and do. If you want to experience Espoo’s unique archipelago nature, simply follow a nature trail to Lake Pentalanjärvi and the Diksand beach.
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Hanaholmen
Hanasaari is an enchanting place in the midst of the archipelago, close to the Helsinki city centre. The Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre promotes and develops interaction between Finland and Sweden, as well as co-operation in all areas of society. Hanasaari’s home is a modern well-maintained building, amply decorated with modern Finnish and Swedish art. The Hanasaari cultural centre was inaugurated on 1 June 1975 by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and President Urho Kekkonen of Finland. The building was designed by architect Veikko Malmio, and its original interior decorations by Professor Yrjö Sotamaa. An art competition was organised during the building phase, and the winner was revealed by King Carl XVI Gustaf when he inaugurated the house. The winning piece was Heikki Häiväoja‘s grand relief “Vuorovaikutus” (Interaction). Two other participating works were also purchased for Hanasaari: Marjatta Weckström‘s relief “Vuodenajat” (The seasons), which today can be seen in Restaurant Johannes, and the bronze front doors with small coloured windows embedded in them by Kauko Räsänen.
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Gallen-Kallela Museum
On the northern shore of Laajalahti Bay, in Tarvaspää, lies the Gallen-Kallela Museum, designed and built by one of Finland’s finest artists, Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Tarvaspää’s beautiful surroundings and the museum’s unique architecture provide the perfect setting for a museum visit. Originally a studio and residence, the museum opened to the public in 1961. The temporary exhibitions that present the art and life of Gallen-Kallela are shown alongside present-day works of contemporary art, while a wide range of events and activities are arranged during the year, with the museum acting as a centre for information on the great artist. Tarvaspää Cafe Zoceria is located in a delightful villa next to the museum where visitors can enjoy great coffee, snacks, salads and soups.
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Runeberg Museum
Welcome to Finland’s oldest home museum! Come and enjoy the authentic atmosphere of the 1860s bourgeois home (kirjailijakoti) as guests of the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877) and his wife Fredrika (1807-1879). The museum’s unique atmosphere is created by furniture, works of art, dishes and old house plants, many of which have been grown from Fredrika’s cuttings. During the summer season you can discover the floral splendour of the house’s carefully restored garden.
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Porvoo Doll and Toy Museum
This private collection is open to the public during the summer months and to groups by arrangement throughout the year. One of the best toy museums in the country, exhibiting a large number of toys, all of which children have played with at some point in time.
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Porvoo Museum
Porvoo Museum is both a historical museum and an art museum. The two buildings in which it is housed date from the 1760s and stand on the edge of the square beside the Old Town Hall in the heart of the oldest part of Porvoo.
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Glims Farmstead Museum
Glims Farmstead Museum is situated in the well preserved cultural landscape of Karvasmäki village, where farms and holdings were already established in the Middle Ages.
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Espoo Car Museum
he Espoo Car Museum is the most diversified and oldest vehicle museum in Finland. Objects and special exhibitions are often altered, so also those who revisit beautiful Pakankylä in Espoo may find something new. There are cars and motorcycles from the early 1900s up until family cars of the 1960s and 1970s, which have disappeared from the motoring scene. Our sports car collection is of major interest, too. Famous East European cars were imported to Finland after WW II, making up a section of their own, such as Moskvich, Yalta, Volga, Pobeda, IFA etc., and not least a Russian Chaika. You can also admire beautiful American cars.
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Kuressaare Episcopal Castle
Kuressaare Episcopal Castle, also known as Kuressaare Castle, is one of the most interesting and best-preserved fortresses in Estonia. The castle has become one of the most remarkable buildings in Northern Europe built during the 14th–19th century. There is a history museum which tells stories of the distant past and recent history of Saaremaa and the locals through permanent exhibitions and travelling exhibitions. There are also activities for both children and adults – from treasure hunts to archery!
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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
This Church was built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was severely wounded and died in March 1881.The church was built from 1883 till 1907. The construction was funded by the imperial family. Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The Church contains over 7500 square meters of mosaics—according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
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Rundale Palace and Museum
The Rundale Palace is set amidst the fertile Zemgale Plains in the south of Latvia. Most of the interior decorations were created between 1765 and 1768 when a sculptor from Berlin Johann Michael Graff, and Italian painters from St. Petersburg Francesco Martini and Carlo Zucchi worked at the palace.
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Ylaemaa Gem Museum
Ylämaa Gem Museum was founded in the year 1982. The museum is the first gem museum in Finland that is open for public. Over 250 000 visitors have visited in Ylämaa gem museum to this point. The Ylämaa Gem Museum exhibition presents over four thousand gems, minerals, and fossils from all over the world. The specialities of the museum are genuine fossils of dinosaur and mammoth, and different types of meteorite. Among other things, you will see a replica collection of the world’s most famous diamonds, desert roses, ocean jaspers, quarter-ton rose quartz from Madagascar, various mineral ores, and 4000 other exciting specimens. Prehistoric fossils, corals and meteorites are also fascinating. You will learn a lot about the most beautiful labradorite of the world, spectrolite, found only in Ylämaa, some kilometres from Gem Museum. At the museum, you will also be presented fluorescent minerals radiating in magnificent bright colours, an experience to remember.
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Aviation Museum of Karelia
Situated in Lappenranta airport, the Aviation Museum of Karelia opened to the public in 2000. The basic exhibition displays fighter planes MIG-21BIS, SAAB 35S, DRAKEN, NIEUPORT 17, FOLLAND GNAT and the school plane SAAB 91D SAFIR.
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Wolkoff House Museum
Built in 1826, Wolkoff House is located in the centre of the town and is one of the oldest wooden buildings in Lappeenranta. It originally belonged to a Russian merchant family, from 1872 to 1986, and was opened as a museum to the public in 1993.
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South Karelia Art Museum
Founded in 1965, the Lappeenranta Art Museum initially occupied the same premises as the South Karelia Museum of Cultural History, at the northern tip of the Lappeenranta Fortress. In the 1980s, the Art Museum moved to its present site in the neoclassic-style barracks (built in 1798), opposite the Orthodox Church. In 1986, the Art Museum became the Regional Art Museum of South-East Finland. The museum is home to a collection of Finnish art from the mid-19th century to the present day. The museum’s largest single collection of old Finnish art was accumulated by Viipurin Taiteenystävät ry (Vyborg Friends of Art); this collection includes works by many well-known artists such as Albert Edelfelt, Pekka Halonen, Tyko Sallinen, Hjalmar Munsterhjelm and Eero Järnefelt. The collection has paintings by artists who were active in Vyborg or were born there. The contemporary art collections, on the other hand, focus in particular on art from south-east Finland and include paintings by Leena Luostarinen, Unto Ahjotuli, Anne Tompuri, Irmeli Tarmo, Eeva Vesterinen, Heimo Suntio and Sinikka Kurkinen etc. etc. Every year, the Art Museum also stages between three and four temporary exhibitions which feature both the latest trends in the world of art and works representing earlier periods in the history of art.
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The Fortress of Lappeenranta
The Fortress of Lappeenranta is a unique place in South-Eastern Finland. Inhabited and full of life even today, it once formed part of a defence system that also included the fortress of Suomenlinna in Helsinki and the fortress of Hamina. Although different in size, all three of these fortresses are of a similar nature and share the same passion for development. While seeking to protect and preserve these areas through careful land use planning, they also aim to increase services and levels of activity around the year. The Fortress of Lappeenranta was constructed as a border fortress, forming part of the chain of fortresses between Finland and North-Western Russia. Over the centuries, the Fortress was alternately held by the Swedes and Russians. Today, the Fortress of Lappeenranta is a valuable component of Finnish, Russian and Swedish cultural heritage and forms part of the Castles and Fortifications chain of cultural destinations.
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Brinkhall Manor
The Brinkhall Manor, located in Turku on the island of Kakskerta, can trace its history back to the 16th century. The existing neoclassical buildings, completed in 1793, are surrounded by a rich natural and cultural landscape with parks and gardens going back many hundreds of years. The grounds are well known from the Finnish TV series Hovimäki. Brinkhall Manor has a Café, where you can also find the Interior Museum and exhibitions during the café’s opening hours. Manor tours as well as a variety of events, from concerts to parties and seminars can be arranged on request.