Ethno-Nationalism Revisited? A Journey Through the New Estonian National Museum (Eesti Rahva Muuseum)

  • Emilia PawłuszEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict book series (PSCHC)


This chapter examines the attempt of the Estonian state to reconcile itself with its Soviet past, and bring together the different ethnic groups that inhabit the country. Estonian National Museum. Pawłusz discusses the main permanent exhibition “Encounters” which can be seen as prime example of a governmental attempt to steer away from a socially exclusive narrative. It presents a more open narrative, including groups who can’t claim a long history in the country, instead.


  1. Adams, L. L. (1999). Invention, Institutionalization and Renewal in Uzbekistan’s National Culture. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 2(3), 355–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, L. L. (2010). The Spectacular State: Culture and National Identity in Uzbekistan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, B. (1991). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Billig, M. (1995). Banal Nationalism. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, R. H., & Davis-Brown, B. (1998). The Making of Memory: The Politics of Archives, Libraries and Museums in the Construction of National Consciousness. History of the Human Sciences, 11(4), 17–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brüggemann, K., & Kasekamp, A. (2008). The Politics of History and the ‘War of Monuments’ in Estonia. Nationalities Papers, 36(3), 425–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crane, A. S. (1997). Memory, Distortion, and History in the Museum. History and Theory, 36, 44–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Datunashvili, A. (2017). The Georgian National Museum and the Museum of Soviet Occupation as Loci of Informal Nation Building. In A. Polese, et al. (Eds.), Identity and Nation Building in Everyday Post-socialist Life (pp. 52–69). New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Forest, B., & Johnson, J. (2002). Unraveling the Threads of History: Soviet–Era Monuments and Post-Soviet National Identity in Moscow. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 92(3), 24–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gellner, E. (1983). Nations and Nationalism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hirsch, F. (2005). Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge & the Making of the Soviet Union. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Isaacs, R., & Polese, A. (Eds.). (2016). Nation Building and Identity in the Post-Soviet Space: New Tools and Approaches. NewYork and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Kaplan, F. E. (Ed.). (1994). Museums and the Making of “Ourselves”: The Role of Objects in National Identity. London: Leicester University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Karm, S., & Leete, A. (2015). The Ethics of Ethnographic Attraction: Reflections on the Production of the Finno-Ugric Exhibitions at the Estonian National Museum. Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, 9(1), 99–121.Google Scholar
  15. Knell, J. S., et al. (2011). National Museums: New Studies from Around the World. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Kolstø, P. (Ed.). (2014). Strategies of Symbolic Nation-Building in South Eastern Europe. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  17. Kuutma, K. (1996). Cultural Identity. Nationalism and Changes in Singing Traditions. Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore, 2, 124–141.Google Scholar
  18. Martinez, F. (2016). Wasted Legacies? Material Culture in Contemporary Estonia. Ph.D. dissertation, Tallinn University.Google Scholar
  19. Nora, P. (1989). Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire. Representations, 26, 724.Google Scholar
  20. Nora, P. (Ed.). (1996). General Introduction: Between Memory and History. In Realms of Memory. Rethinking the French Past (pp. 1–20). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Pawłusz, E. (2016). The Estonian Song Celebration (Laulupidu) as an Instrument of Language Policy. Journal of Baltic Studies. Scholar
  22. Pawłusz, E., & Polese, A. (2017). ‘Scandinavia’s Best-Kept Secret.’ Tourism Promotion, Nation-Branding, and Identity Construction in Estonia (with a free guided tour of Tallinn Airport). Nationalities Papers. Scholar
  23. Pettai, V. (2007). The Construction of State Identity and Its Legacies: Legal Restorationism in Estonia. Ab Imperio, 3, 403–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pfoser, A. (2015). Between Security and Mobility: Negotiating a Hardening Border Regime in the Russian-Estonian Borderland. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(10), 1684–1702. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Runnel, P., T. Tatsi, & P. Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt. (2014). Who Authors the Nation? The Debate Surrounding the Building of the New Estonian National Museum. P. Runnel & P. Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt (Eds.), Democratising the Museum: Reflections of Participatory Technologies (pp. 19–34). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  26. Seliverstova, O. (2017). Keeping Alive the “Imaginary West” in Post-Soviet Countries. Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, 25(1), 117–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Seljamaa, E.-H. (2012). A Home for 121 Nationalities or Less: Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Integration in Post-Soviet Estonia. Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University.Google Scholar
  28. Siiner, M. (2006). Planning Language Practice: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Language Policy in Post-communist Estonia. Language Policy, 5(2), 161–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Smith, L. (2006). Uses of Heritage. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Šmidchens, G. (2014). The Power of Song: Nonviolent National Culture in the Baltic Singing Revolution. Seattle: Washington University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Tamm, M. (2013). In Search of Lost Time: Memory Politics in Estonia, 1991–2011. Nationalities Papers, 41(4), 651–674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Velmet, A. (2011). Occupied Identities: National Narratives in Baltic Museums of Occupations. Journal of Baltic Studies, 42(2), 189–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Vetik, R. (Ed.). (2012). Nation-Building in the Context of Post-communist Transformation and Globalization. The Case of Estonia. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LodzPoland

Personalised recommendations