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“The setup is all wrong ”

Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom
Ranked #49 of 315 things to do in Tallinn
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Owner description: Occupations, resistance, restoration, and freedom. These are the words that reflect the new permanent exhibition of Vabamu - The Museum of Occupations and Freedom. It is a compelling museum about the recent history of Estonians, human values, and the role that people and their choices play in maintaining freedom. The brand new and modern permanent exhibition of the museum offers activities and something to think about for visitors of all ages. We will take you on a journey through the recent history of Estonia that is filled with thrilling stories. At the exhibition, you will be accompanied by an e-guide, who can speak Estonian, English, Russian, Finnish, German, Spanish, and French. The e-guide will discuss the topics of the museum and provide detailed reading material about the exhibits. Between stories, you will hear authentic memories of victims, perpetrators, accomplices, freedom fighters, collaborators, rebels, etc.
Reviewed 13 November 2017 via mobile

The concept behind the museum is great but unfortunately it has been very poorly executed.

The exhibition features a series of roughly 30 minute videos and therein lies the problem. When listening to our particular video, it was almost impossible to block out the other video playing nearby. I even tried pausing it but it kept re-starting.

We also had to wait around for the people watching the next video before we could move on, as did people who were waiting to watch the video we were part way through. This would be less of an issue if the videos were shorter but if you are ready to watch the next video but someone is halfway through it (and potentially listening to it in another language), 15 minutes is a long time to wait.

I really wanted to get the most out of this museum but sadly the format just didn’t allow it.

2  Thank Curly_Kale64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"recent history"
in 21 reviews
"soviet occupation"
in 24 reviews
"personal accounts"
in 5 reviews
"watching videos"
in 5 reviews
"folding chairs"
in 5 reviews
"interesting artifacts"
in 7 reviews
"last century"
in 6 reviews
"second world war"
in 6 reviews
"cold war"
in 9 reviews
"on display"
in 12 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 17 reviews
"audio guide"
in 5 reviews
"two hours"
in 9 reviews
"old town"
in 25 reviews
"toompea hill"
in 6 reviews
in 26 reviews
in 32 reviews

9 - 13 of 557 reviews

Reviewed 5 November 2017

I was very pleased to have the opportunity to visit while holidaying in Tallinn as a tourist. This is an important, well presented museum of a part of history many will be unfamiliar with (I am British and knew nothing about the Estonian occupations prior to visiting). It is very well curated and sensitively presented. My only criticism is that quite a lot is delivered via gathering round a small number of screens and sitting/standing watching long videos to get the history. It is quite a small museum, and could do more to spread visitors round and create more of a journey.

Thank Emily W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2017

I think the museum does a good job of capturing the timeline of Estonia's occupations. It was pretty disturbing in some areas -- mostly in the very detailed videotaped interviews of people who suffered. It was interesting and well done, and gives you a lot to think about.

1  Thank blooberry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2017

The Museum of Occupation (MoO) or "glass house" is situated a short walk of around 100 meters from Freedom Square (FS) as one looks at the glass cross in FS and up the slope behind it. Entry costs are about 6 Euro, 4 Euro concession,13 Euro family ticket.

It's a salutary reminder when visiting Estonia and other Baltic nations, that to win, lose, win, lose.......one's freedom over decades, centuries, is not just a footnote in history books, not just a "taken for granted - that's the cycle of national evolution," but an indelible memory wariness in the psyche of the people who have lived through such momentous times, that occupation or escape can happen again.

For tourists who live in places where invasion, occupation, liberation............is a rarity, a visit to the MoO is invaluable because it gives one an appreciation of what it means to live in times of instability, to have to grab whatever one can carry with a few hours notice and leave the land of one's birth with no guarantee of safe passage or even being able to return in one's lifetime. Its an eye opener to see what flying people treasure that they try and take with them as hand luggage.

The MoO is not large but packed with numerous artefacts that each tells a story of sacrifice, survival, self reliance, and solitude. The resourcefulness and determination of people fleeing occupation, forced mobilization and worse is evident in the stories of life and death, success and failure attached to various MoO artefacts.

What's paradoxical is that as one wanders the exhibits one is struck by the counter posing aims of the various allies in WWII and the period afterwards, that saw the newly emerged occupiers/liberators, former wartime allies, become Cold war adversaries. The result being a sandwiching of Estonian's and other eastern European peoples in a East-West ideological and physical "vice", with many Estonian and Baltic people fleeing a "no win" occupation/liberation, incarceration, deportation system for eradicating any liberal and democratic values adherents.

The MoO offers individual audio guides in a range of languages including English and is a quiet reflective place with permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Its a great way of commencing or continuing a tour of Eastern European nations that for the greater portion of the 20th century were neither free, nor democratically ruled, nor independent.

The MoO staff and curators are more than happy to fill in any knowledge gaps and provide other background details to the exhibits and artefacts.

Gregory Jarosch.

4  Thank gregoryjarosch50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 October 2017

We found this small museum interesting and very useful to understand the recent history of the Estonian people. It did not have any real "wow" factor in our view but we are glad we went. The stories of individuals gave a real human perspective. The exhibit in the basement on recent migration should not be missed.

2  Thank dccv1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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