Paper: Plans to start Baltic German Museum discussed

Lihula Manor which was built by Baltic Germans, and whose museum is now run by Marika Valk.
Lihula Manor which was built by Baltic Germans, and whose museum is now run by Marika Valk. Source: Kristian Pikner/Wikimedia Commons

The head of the Lihula and Hanila Museums, art historian Marika Valk, discussed plans to build a Baltic German history and culture museum on Vikerraadio's Kajalood, newspaper Lääne elu reported.

Valk, a former pioneer of KUMU Art Gallery's construction, said there is support for the idea and that the museum would act as an "information bank" to gather knowledge about "Baltic German manors, Baltic German art, education, theater, exploration, etc." and "to make all Baltic German topics accessible in one place."

While it would be situated in Estonia it would be an international project and has already been discussed with the Baltic German Cultural Society, she said on Saturday.  

Valk was the head of the Estonian Art Museum from 1991 to 2008, and became head of the Lihula Museum in April 2018. Valk and her husband Heinz Valga have been helping Hanila Museum since it started. 

Despite being part of the Russian Empire, the Baltic provinces were self-governed by the local nobility, which at the time, were the Baltic Germans. They lived in the territories that became Estonia and Latvia for hundreds of years before the Second World War. They were the dominant ruling class and landowners despite never being amounting to more than 10 percent of the population of the area. They built manor houses, many of which are still standing but in various states of decay today, and Estonians and Latvians were enserfed to work on their land. Germany culture also had a huge impact on the region.

The vast majority of Baltic Germans left Estonia and Latvia in 1939 and were repatriated to Germany.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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