Tallinn Literary Centre
Tallinn Literary Centre was established in January 2017 and we concentrate on the legacy of two of the foremost Estonian writers: A.H. Tammsaare and Eduard Vilde. We are responsible for administrating Tammsaare and Vilde museums and we take an active part in Tallinn literary life.
Our goal and mission is to map the literary legacy of Tallinn (memorial tablets, monuments), but also to carry out research on writers that are essentially connected with Tallinn and to perpetuate the memory of these writers, as well as to dissert the image of Tallinn in the Estonian literature (but also in the foreign literature), to improve international connections, etc.
Our dream is to make literature more visible in Tallinn city landscape and to ensure that the literature heritage of Tallinn is well preserved.
Anton Hansen Tammsaare Museum is situated in a summer-cottage-type house in Kadriorg, formerly a suburb. The Estonian literary classic Anton Hansen Tammsaare (1878-1940) lived in this apartment in 1932-1940 and died here. His widow Käthe Hansen wished their home to become a museum and her wish was granted on the centenary of the writer, on 30 January 1978.
The first floor of the building contains the five-room apartment, furnished as it used to be in the writer’s lifetime. In the other wing of the floor there is the literary-historical display of Tammsaare’s life and work. The museum collection contains over 6000 items, among them rarities like the writer’s death mask and his violin, his home archive with manuscripts, correspondence, documents and photos.
In 2006 we opened a new exhibition in the exhibition hall: “Truth lies in the man”. We have made Tammsaare there as the centre of the world to give the visitor a better idea about his life and creative work and to emphasize that everybody is the centre of their world. Thus our approach to Tammsaare proceeds along the walks of life that were important to him: landscapes, towns, people and society. Places that left their imprint, people who had an influence on his life and events that could not be passed by, all merge into an entity, a whole in the writer’s.
Our story about Tammsaare is but one of the many and includes many other stories not quite revealed yet. The truth about the stories, just like about the people, lies just in them.
The exhibition was compiled in 2006
Curator – Maarja Vaino, designer – Annes Arro
The museum on the ground floor of a neo-baroque building erected for the castellan of Kadriorg in the mid-19th century shows the last apartment of one of the best-known Estonian writers of the early 20th century – Eduard Vilde (1865-1933).
Vilde moved into the apartment in November 1927 and lived there until his death on 26 December 1933. The authentic furnishing of the 1930s shows very well the huge changes in the mode of life. There are paintings and sculptures by recognized contemporary painters and sculptors. The balusters of the wooden staircase that date from the turn of the 19th and 20th century are also original.
The birchwood furniture made at the Luther Mechanical Woodworks Ltd. that worked in Tallinn before the Second World War and exported furniture all over Europe, was given to Vilde by the Ministry of Education. As the sets of furniture in Vilde Museum are the best survived ones, the museum is often also called the Luther Museum.
When walking in the park, Vilde often met another great writer Anton Hansen Tammsaare who had moved to Kadriorg in September 1932. Legend has it that the men used to talk standing for a long time. The Vildes, Eduard’s wife Linda Vilde was one of the first Estonian women journalists, were often visited by writers Tammsaare, Tuglas, Metsanurk, Vares-Barbarus, artists Koort, Sannamees and actors Pinna and Särev.
Vilde was fond of visiting stylish cafes in Kadriorg. His favourite place was the cafe Eldorado in Poska Street. Vilde who was always elegantly garbed, was a rather typical example of a spiritual public figure sitting and reading newspapers, sometimes treating ladies with coffee.