Tartu City Museum was established in 1955. A large part of the museum’s collection consists of an archaeological anthology on the distant past of Tartu and a photographic collection reflecting the city’s spatial development. As of 2015, the entire collection – including its archive and object collections – consists of some 158,000 items.
The museum’s main building, located near the city centre in the suburb of Ülejõe, is a grand building from the late 18 th century. The building stands out for its interior, including a hall in Louis XVI Early Classical style.
Visitors can learn about the diverse history of Tartu from our permanent exhibition “Dorpat. Yuryev. Tartu.”. The history of Tartu dates back to the ancient stronghold of Tarbatu. Visitors can find out about the medieval town of Dorpat, the havoc wreaked during the Livonian War, intellectual life under Polish and Swedish rule, locally handcrafted items from the 18 th century and the many events linked to the Tartu Peace Treaty. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum has a number of temporary exhibitions as well.
Tartu City Museum has four branches:
a 19 th Century Tartu Citizen’s Home Museum is located in a middle-class citizen’s Biedermeier-style home from the 1830s; the KGB Cells Museum brings to life conditions in the KGB’s remand prison in Tartu; the Oskar Luts Home Museum in the suburb of Tammelinn welcomes you to the home of a dearly loved Estonian writer; and the Song Festival Museum provides an overview of the Estonian tradition of song festivals and the role of Tartu in its development.