The University of Tartu Museum’s annual exhibition explores events since the year 1920 that have influenced the Estonian state and university. The exhibition highlights the development of our national thought and its ideals through the institution of our national university in the context of ground breaking events, including failures and disappointments.
The establishment of the Estonian national university has had and still has a major influence on the welfare of the Estonian state and society, in fact a greater and deeper impact than it may seem at first glance. During the past century the development of the Estonian state and society has always been deeply connected with the destiny of the national university. The previous century, which was full of difficulties and contradictions, directed and forced the Estonian university to constantly search for new ideals owing to many interruptions and new beginnings. Most of these quests never came to fruition, but the ideals have a perceptible influence even today.
The main topic of each decade—be it women’s rights, free thought, tolerance, social expectations regarding the university or the concept of mass university—are presented with the help of specific phenomena, events or people at the exhibition. Events are viewed in a rich context of connections on various levels, including through confrontations and controversies. The exhibition searches for answers to issues that are important and perhaps even uncomfortable for the university and Estonia through intriguing approaches that aim to start a discussion and invite visitors to join in.