Kadri Hallik

From Ancient and Forgotten Times. Things Necessary for a Good Life

The University of Tartu Art Museum’s temporary exhibition brings together pieces from Estonian museums and libraries, and tells stories of distant cultures. The exhibition features nearly 200 items from ancient Sumeria and Egypt, ancient Greece and Rome, and from India, China and Japan.

The exhibition is open until 27 May 2023. It includes activities and interesting reading for both adults and children. The exhibition makes a contribution to history studies at both lower and upper secondary school level.  

An echo of distant cultures 

The exhibition takes visitors on a brief cultural journey through time and space. The exotic nature of distant lands and cultures fascinates us. Excitement and curiosity have inspired some to take long trips, whether to the world’s seven lands and seas or to the museums of major European cities. Fragments of these distant cultures are present even in Estonia’s museums and libraries, some of which are presented in the exhibition “From Ancient and Forgotten Times. Things Necessary for a Good Life”.  

The symbols of these ancient cultures may be thousands of years old or relatively young, but they all embody a long tradition. In the culture of the East, it is not the age of the object but rather its spiritual meaning and the transmission of aesthetic values that is most important. 

The objects made by people who lived in ancient times can help us understand their way of thinking. Just like today, people wanted to be beautiful and prosperous, to have a home and to have power in their lives, to entertain and to revitalise their souls. 

Educational programmes

Students can have a direct experience with objects from ancient cultures in the educational programme “Things necessary for a good life. About ancient cultures and way of life”. This educational programme is suitable for lower and upper secondary students.  

If you are interested, please contact, phone (+372) 737 5674.


Getting there 

  • The exhibition is in the University of Tartu Art Museum on the first floor of the university’s main building.
  • There is no high threshold at the hall door. 


  • There are several soft pouffes without backs around the activity table.  

Light and sound 

  • The room has little lightning due to several photosensitive exhibits.  
  • The texts are in a white font on a coloured background.  
  • The texts about objects are attached to the wall in a way that makes them easy to take over to the displays. 
  • The room has a continuous oriental music track playing in the background.  

Read about the accessibility of the entire building here.  

Project team

Curators: Terje Lõbu, Külli Valk 

Project manager: Terje Lõbu 

Artist: Liina Unt (Endla Theatre) 

Graphic designer: Kadri Hallik (Estonian Drama Theatre) 

Print: Salibar 

Team: Jaanika Anderson, Tiiu Kreegipuu, Külli Lupkin, Karoliina Kalda, Ele Loonde, Piibe Nõmm, Tanel Nõmmik, Anne Arus, Kristiina Ribelus 

Thank you: Saaremaa Museum, Narva Museum, Estonian History Museum, Art Museum of Estonia, Mikkel Museum, Estonian National Museum, University of Tartu Library 

Support: the city of Tartu and Cultural Endowment of Estonia 

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