Estonian Open Air Museum

The Tallinn Open-Air Museum in Rocca-al-Mare is also known as the Ethnographic Museum of Estonian Life. The exhibits here are houses and farmsteads that have been built in Estonia for several centuries. The vast theme park recreates the countryside atmosphere of the 17th-20th centuries, which will be a pleasure for both adults and children to experience.

History of the Estonian Open Air Museum

The idea to create an open-air museum in Estonia appeared in 1909. The Estonian National Museum then set a goal of opening a similar institution in Tartu by 1913. But the outbreak of World War I frustrated the plans. All funds of the National Museum were used to furnish the Raadi Manor and the economic recession ruled out the possibility of a large-scale new exhibition.

In the second half of the 1920s, the possibility of building a museum in Tallinn was discussed. A location near Pirita was even hired, but the lack of money meant it was impossible to build an exhibition here as well. The new term for opening was June 1941, but the war began. The construction of the museum was postponed again.

The next time the Union of Architects returned to the theme in 1950. And only in 1956 the Ministry of Culture began preparatory work. The museum was eventually founded on May 22, 1957, but it received its first visitors only in August 1964. The museum is still open in the same place.


The open air museum is located in a picturesque park that occupies 80 hectares. At the moment there are 74 buildings with complete furnishings that correspond to a certain time period. The aim of the institution is to demonstrate the development of Estonian national architecture and the life of the local population.

During the summer, both external and internal exhibitions of the museum are open. This means that visitors can look into practically every house, near which they will be greeted by staff dressed in Estonian national clothes from different eras and estates. Here you can get an idea of the everyday life of both the poorest and the richest members of the population.

In winter, most of the buildings can be seen only from the outside. The only places that are open all year round are Kuje Old School and Kolu tavern, where you can always satisfy your appetite for a walk in the fresh air. A sleigh ride in winter and a horse-drawn carriage ride in summer are offered as attractions.

Photo Gallery

How to get to the Open Air Museum?

You can get to Rocca-al-Mare Open-Air Museum from the center of Tallinn on bus lines 21 and 21B. They depart from the railway station. Get off at the stop “Vabahumuuseum”.


Other interesting places

  • Open-air museum is often visited with Tallinn Zoo. However, it should be noted that both institutions occupy a large territory and require a lot of time to visit.
  • Not far from the museum is a large shopping center Rocca-al-Mare.
  • The Rocca-al-Mare promenade begins just behind the shopping center and connects the area to Stroomi beach.