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Exhibition on Arch Bridge: “Estonia was invented in Tartu!”

Tartu linnamuuseumLaulupeomuuseumUudis

The role that Tartu and the people of Tartu have played in the birth of the Estonian state has undoubtedly been fundamental. This is true already because of the mere fact that the national mentality was much stronger in Tartu than in other Estonian towns at the beginning of the last century. Moreover, Tartu is the birthplace of song festivals and many other nationally-minded endeavours. It was the seedbed for most of Estonian intelligentsia and where blue, black and white started to evolve into Estonian national colours. It is the place where the flagship of Estonian journalism, Postimees was published and where many national societies were founded. The Estonian National Museum, the first Estonian professional theatre and the first Estonian-language secondary school were all established here.During the days of the 1905 revolution, the first national parties were formed in Tartu and a nation-wide meeting of people’s representatives was called together to find Estonia its own way and to demand the right for Estonians to have a say in their destiny and make decisions about their future. In 1917 a draft was put together in Tartu that gave Estonia autonomy within Russia. In 1920 it was Tartu where the peace treaty with Russia was signed, guaranteeing the survival of the independent Estonian state.The exhibition you see here gives a brief overview of the events and processes that occurred in Tartu at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century and which laid the foundation for creating the Republic of Estonia and influenced local life between the two world wars, partly even up to this day. The exhibition, which is dedicated to the Estonian centenary, tells the story of the Tartu of the past and the people of Tartu, whose courage, vigour and legerity of mind came together as a prerequisite for the birth of an independent state.The dates up to 1 February 1918 are presented according to the old calendar.Curators: Kristiina Tael (Tartu Song Festival Museum) and Kaari Siemer (Estonian National Museum)Consultant: Ago PajurExhibition design: Marje Eelma (Tuumik Stuudio)Translator: Merli KirsimäeEstonian language editor: Ivi TammaruDisplay installation: SalibarTartu City Museum 2018The exhibition has used the collections of Estonian History Museum, Estonian Literary Museum, Estonian National Museum, Estonian Sports and Olympics Museum, Estonian Theatre and Music Museum, Museum of Estonian Architecture, Archives of the EELC Consistory, National Archives of Estonia, University of Tartu Museum, University of Tartu Library, Museum of Viljandi, Tartu City Museum and the private collections of Indrek Ilomets and Andrus Rüütel. Thank you!

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