For a knitter in love with Estonian mittens, spending a day in the research room of the Estonian National Museum (ERM) in Tartu was heaven.
I corresponded before my trip with Kadri at ERM and arranged for my study day – the day after my arrival in Estonia. After flying into Tallinn, I got immediately on a bus for the 2 ½ hour ride to Tartu.
Photography is not allowed in the research room, but there is an excellent portal to digitally view the museum’s collection. Before my arrival, I was given instructions for using the portal so that I could make a selection of which items I would like to view for my research. But how do you choose from 2,833 mittens?
After using the museum's online portal, here’s the actual portal that I passed through to begin my hands-on (gloved hands, of course) research day.
When I arrived at ERM I was greeted by Kadri’s co-worker, Maire, who took good care of me. Kadri was on vacation, if you can call organizing the Tartu Hanseatic Days a vacation. The Hanseatic Days took place in Tartu from July 11-13, 2014.
For my research, I brought along an old mini computer that I hate to use at home because it's so slow but it’s small and light for travel and I was happy to have Excel and a mouse with me for the charting that I did at the museum.
Besides being home to ERM, Tartu is a university town with a lot of history. One of the oldest European universities was founded here in 1632 and Tartu was the location of the first Estonian Song Festival in 1869. It has a vibrant Raekejo Plats (Town Hall Square), a lovely river (Emogoji) with many bridges, and a big hill and park on which sit cathedral ruins.
To use the English access to the Estonian National Museum public portal, open this site:
Click on "Advanced search"
From the "Museum" dropdown, choose Eesti Rahva Muuseum (to limit the search to items at ERM)
Click to select "Objects with picture" (to limit the search to items that include pictures)
For the "Name" field, type in one of the following terms in Estonian:
kindad (for mittens)
sukad (for stockings)
kampsun (for cardigans)
Or use another Estonian term to search for other items