Estonia's open air museums getting to grips with permission to open Sunday

An exhibit at the Estonian Aviation Museum near Tartu.
An exhibit at the Estonian Aviation Museum near Tartu. Source: ERR

From Sunday, May 2, open-air museums are permitted to open to the public, as part of the government's easing of coronavirus restrictions. Since the 2+2 rule and other requirements still apply, some museums, lacking the outdoor space, are having to think outside the box in attracting visitors, while others have no space issues but face other challenges, ERR's culture portal reports.

The Estonian Museum of Architecture (Eesti arhitektuurimuuseum) in Tallinn is expanding its outdoor space into the neighboring Rotermanni quarter, since its existing yard would only permit one person at a time if the 2+2 rule were to be adhered to, ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported Friday night.

The museum will conduct workshops with small, dispersed groups, and take a look at some of the architecture old and new in the Rotermanni quarter, a shopping district. Tours can be booked in advance, last about 90 minutes and can be held in English, Estonian or Russian.

The Estonian Aviation Museum (Eesti lennundusmuuseum) just south of Tartu is also opening its doors.

Given the museum's dimensions, following the 2+2 rule shouldn't be an issue, said director Mati Meos.

"The exhibits are located in our hangars, under open roofs, so there is no problem - the territory is seven hectares," Meos told "Aktuaalne kaamera", adding that the only are that was off limits were the cockpits of three planes which the public was normally allowed to enter to inspect, as well as actual flights the mseum had offered.

The museum's complement includes a British Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.3 ground attack VSTOL jet.

Meos added that opening the museum's doors would not help solve its financial difficulties before year end.

"The biggest problems are that we have had to cancel flight days, which have been very important to us in terms of economic survival, as we can't imagine how we can work normally through to the end of the year without flight days."

Tori stud farm (Tori hobusekasvatus) near Pärnu, home of a highly regarded breed of horses belongs to the the Estonian Rural Museums foundation (Eesti Maaelumuuseumid ) along with the nearby Kurgja Farm Museum and the Estonian Agricultural Museum (Eesti põllumajandusmuuseum) in Tartu, and is opening its doors, or rather gates, on May 2 as well.

Groom Johanna Ojandu explained that up to 10 people are welcome to visit the stud farm at a time. 

"We will probably start [riding] training again on May 17," she added, and said that are currently over 50 horses, including foals, in the stables.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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