Contemporary exhibitions
Suurgildi hoone
WHOSE RELIGION IS CORRECT? 500 years since the Reformation
21 June 2017 until 13 May 2018.
The Estonian History Museum invites all to the Great Guild hall to an exhibition entitled “Whose religion is correct? 500 years since the Reformation”.

This year marks 500 years since the start of the Reformation. Martin Luther’s movement has been understood and interpreted in different ways through the ages. This exhibition takes visitors back to the beginning of the Reformation, the 16th century, to when people were dwelling on how to attain bliss. It was a time when purchasing indulgences was not enough to clear one’s conscience, a time when people argued over who or what was the supreme authority of Christianity and whose religion was correct.

“When teased and tormented by the evil Tempter,

Throw at him an ink pot as taught by Martin Luther.”

The exhibition shows how people in the Middle Ages struggled to better themselves through faith and it focuses on the Reformation’s impact in Estonia. Despite there being a great distance between Tallinn and Wittenberg, innovative ideas arrived in Estonia quite soon. Contributing factors included the direct correspondence between Luther, his followers and the local clergy, as well as the spread of the printed word. While cities saw heated debates over these new ideas, the country folk stayed true to their beliefs. The exhibition examines this peculiar religion that was born from the symbiosis of ancient beliefs and Catholicism. The topics also include church lootings. The exhibition encourages visitors to relate these questions to current events and to nail their opinions to the wall.

The exhibition also offers activities. Visitors can try assembling a puzzle, printing pamphlets or learning the cardinal sins by heart using a 16th century study aid. Various church objects are displayed: an alms box, bench end boards from St. Nicholas’ Church and many other items with Christian symbolism, archaeological finds from Pirita Convent, 16th century books and documents. The exhibition is accompanied by educational programmes and theme nights.

Curators: Krista Sarv (Estonian History Museum), Tiina Kala and Juhan Kreem (Tallinn City Archives)

Graphical design: PULT OÜ (Raivo Randoja, Kersti Tuhkru)

Language editor: Hille Saluäär

Translation: Refiner Translations

Educational programme: Kristi Paatsi (Estonian History Museum)

Sound design: Ajar Studio

Project manager: Ehti Järv (Estonian History Museum)

We wish to thank:

Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn City Archives, Tallinn City Museum, Tallinn University, Museums of Virumaa Foundation, Viljandi Museum.

Sponsored by: Cultural Endowment of Estonia