With a flurry of last-minute preparations still underway before Saturday's opening, the press in Estonia was given a sneak peek at the revamped and expanded Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom in Tallinn on Thursday.
First opened to visitors 15 years ago, on 1 July, 2003, Vabamu has been expanded from 600 to 1,120 sq m, utilising parts of the building which previously housed repositories of museum collections closed to the public as well as employee offices, according to a museum press release.
The museum, which is currently the largest in Estonia founded at the initiative of its citizens, aims to collect, store, research as well as showcase recent Estonian history, ranging from local everyday life during the Soviet occupation to the fates of Estonian refugees and the Estonian diaspora in Sweden, North America and beyond.
As indicated by the new name, Vabamu is focused not only on Estonia's history of occupations and repression, but also freedom, liberty and justice as well.
Museum 15 years young
Following six months of renovations, the revamped and expanded museum will on Saturday celebrate its recent 15th anniversary by opening its doors to locals and visitors alike for a 15-hour museum marathon from 9:00 EEST through midnight.
Tickets will be half off for the occasion, and museum visitors will be greeted at the ticket desk by Minister of Culture Indrek Saar (SDE), historian David Vseviov and actress Anu Lamp, among others.
"Freedom is topic which touches all of us, so we'd like to give as many people as possible the chance to participate in the reopening celebrations of the museum," commented Vabamu director Merilin Piipuu.
The museum's new permanent exhibition, titled "Freedom without Borders," consists of five sections through three floors depicting the journey through occupations to freedom, and features the first public showing of original footage shot during the journey of a ship called the Triina, among other exclusives.
The exhibition was curated by Sander Jürisson (Crimes Against Humanity), Maarja Merivoo-Parro (Estonians in the Free World), Uku Lember (Life in Soviet Estonia), Aro Velmet (The Restoration of Independence), as well as Daniel Vaarik and Kaido Ole (Freedom).
Editor: Aili Vahtla