Managing the „Other“
Eesti Rahva Muuseum / Estonian National Museum. By Erzianj jurnalist CC BY-SA 4.0.
Last October, the Estonian National Museum opened its new building and new core exhibitions. With the core exhibition about Estonian culture, the „Encounters“, the ENM has introduced several new topics as well as novel approaches, which highlight the points of contact between different social groups, and stresses the importance of tolerance and equality.
The largest minority in Estonia is the Russian-speaking community. Amazingly, it has not been common to exhibit the culture of Russian–speaking minority in Estonian museums. In the Estonian media, the tendency has rather been to contrast the two communities. „Encounters“, however, aimed to create a dialogue.
The paper will address some challenges, which occurred in the communication with the Russian-speaking community during the preparation of the exhibition. Firstly, for the Estonian National Museum, the communication turned out to be more difficult than expected, since the Russian-speaking community did not have acknowledged leaders and was not accustomed to communicate with the public as a group. Secondly, exposing one’s everyday culture in a museum was sometimes considered improper by the Russian-speakers.
Terje Anepaio (MA) is a researcher-curator at the Estonian National Museum. In the team of the exhibition „Encounters“, she mainly treated topics about the everyday life of the Cold War period. She is experienced in the museological exposition of the everyday life of the late Soviet period.
Kristel Rattus (MA) is a researcher-curator at the Estonian National Museum. She was the leader of the team of present core exhibition „Encounters“. Her fields of interest include patterns of cultural memory and heritage representation in present-day Estonia, automobility in present-day Estonia.