Estonian History Museum
The story of the Estonian History Museum begins in 1802, when Tallinn’s town hall pharmacist, Johann Burchard (1776–1838), started a collection called Mon Faible (My weakness, in French). The inspiration for collecting came from one decoratively marbled Easter egg. The first exhibit was a Chinese opium pipe. In 1822, Burchard put on the exhibition “Antiquities and rarities” at the House of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads. This event was the first of its kind in Tallinn.
Major changes took place at the Museum of the ELS after Estonia was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940. The museum was nationalised and the History Museum of the Estonian SSR was established in its place. Some of the exhibits were given out to other museums. The Estonian SSR Museum of Natural History was established using the collections of natural sciences. Overbearing ideological pressure ruined the museum in the following years. In addition to subjugating the museum employees, items that were deemed harmful were eliminated, which meant destroying everything that reminded people of the republic of Estonia. The greater part of the main collections has been preserved, some of which was kept thanks to the personal enthusiasm of the collection managers.