Estonian War Museum – General Laidoner Museum
Support to European Cooperation Projects 2021
Strand or category
Medium Scale Cooperation Projects
Name of organisation
Estonian War Museum – General Laidoner Museum
Patrick Rang, [email protected]
Scale of the organization
Approximately 20 staff, turnover ca 2MEUR
Aims and activities of the organisation
The Museum of the Estonian War of Independence was established in 1919 and restored in 2001 under the name of the Estonian War Museum – General Laidoner Museum. According to the museum’s statutes, its tasks include locating, collecting, preserving, researching and disseminating objects and materials related to Estonian military history as well as researching military history and developing international relations with other relevant institutions.
Role of the organisation in the project
Project leader or project partner, both options acceptable
Proposed Creative Europe project – to which project are you looking for partners?
Sector or field
Description or summary of the proposed project
Museums and memory institutions are constantly faced with the complex problem of preserving and exhibiting artefacts in their collections. Preventive conservation processes and care of artefacts has been beneficial to the preservation of museum collections. However, considering the multiple risks related to natural and man-made conditions (like light, humidity, temperature etc. and their changes) museums are facing difficulties to establish the best practices of these processes. The risks differ and have a different impact on the artefact depending on whether it is stored or exhibited. This sets strong limitations as to what can be exhibited and what not. On the other hand, preventive conservation and conservation of certain types of artefacts requires specific skills and know-how that goes well beyond that of an “average” memory institution. Thus, the artefacts are subject to unintentional damage, although the museum staff does their best to avoid it and they may be lost forever. The museums are often located in historic buildings not designed for that purpose that may affect the conservation and exhibition conditions as the result of the climate change may (excess in sunshine, increased humidity due to rainfalls etc.).
In the context of military museums, textile is a type of material that requires constant attention and care, from uniforms to ribbons attached to medals. Textiles are complex objects as they consist of different materials (plastics, metals, natural rubber) that their preservation more difficult for the museums. From the exhibition point of view, textile materials play an important role: if the aim is to preserve and exhibit authenticity, duplicates are just a poor substitution that undermine the quality of the museum / exhibition and decrease its attractiveness to visitors.
The Estonian War Museum – General Laidoner Museum (EWM) is unfortunately one of the museums, where the textile collections are not preserved in the best possible conditions and exhibiting of textiles is hampered (affecting the whole conception of how exhibitions are being developed). On the other hand, there are museums that have overcome the obstacles of preserving and exhibiting textile artefacts as a result of meticulous research and effort that could be transferred. Another issue that has been only recently started to be addressed is the ways how textile artefacts are preserved and handled from the environmental sustainability point of view. Preservation of textiles requires precise environmental conditions. To achieve these conditions museums, have a big consumption of energy. On the other hand, museums should take care of their collections and their best preservation and not allowing their deterioration. This is an issue for museums especially if the storerooms are in buildings that are not considered to hold precise environmental conditions (like historical buildings). Additionally, exhibitions tend to be environmental unfriendly as some of the materials that are used are not recyclable and could consist of chemicals that are harmful to objects and environment as well.
Also, the workflow and handling of textile artefacts while included into the museum collection that takes into consideration the different aspects from cleaning to registration is often poorly in place. To draw a parallel, EWM has greatly benefitted from the workflow concerning the digitization of any type of new object into our collection that was developed and implemented in the frames of the INTERREG co-financed CD-ETA project.
The proposed project aims to:
- Gather and analyze the best practices used for preserving
- and exhibiting textile materials in and introduce them in the other partner memory institutions (EWM + to be confirmed).
- Analyze and assess the environmental impact and footprint of the methods used in preserving and exhibiting textile artefacts in museums.
- Develop a handbook on how to handle textile artefacts in museums to ensure their preservation from climate change related hazards and to improve their accessibility as part of exhibitions.
- Pilot the results presented in the handbook in real-life, i.e., preserving and exhibiting textile materials in military museums under improved conditions.
- Delivering a (joint) exhibition focusing on textile-based materials (from uniforms to ribbons) made accessible as a result of the pilot project innovations.
Partners currently involved in the project
Negotiations underway, no agreements concluded
Partners searched – which type of partner are you looking for?
From country or region
Any eligible country, preferably from regions that would guarantee a pan-European dimension to the application
Preferred field of expertise
Preservation and conservation of textile (military) heritage, military heritage in general, environment and heritage
Please get in contact no later than
15 August 2021
Projects searched – are you interested in participating in other EU projects as a partner?
Which kind of projects are you looking for?
Heritage promotion and preservation in its various forms