Angelina Pjatkovskaja

University’s Treasury

On the fourth floor of the museum is the University Treasury, where the treasures displayed speak of the university’s people, and of academic and research achievements.

The exhibition room presents a third exhibition, which was completed just before the 100th anniversary of the national university at the end of 2018.  

Five exhibition themes 

The exhibition space is divided into five parts. The objects in the centre of the room tell stories about the university’s administrative history. Here you can find items related to the founding of the university and the people who led it. The exhibits include the previous rector’s badge of office, a silver cigarette case gifted to the rector by Alexander I of Russia, and a Tartu State University student cap with a curious accessory. 

The lateral parts of the room are divided between the academic fields of the University of Tartu. The selected items tell stories about people in these fields and their research achievements. Among them are the death mask of the writer Alexander Pushkin, a 16th-century Cologne coin scale, and a brain specimen with a tumour from the collection of the neurosurgery professor Ludvig Puusepp.  

“For the fundamental principles of the Estonian Constitution to stand strong, our country needs educated people, professional research and development work, and commitment to preserving and developing the Estonian language and culture. The Estonian national university was founded to maintain and promote these values.” 

Rector Professor Toomas Asser

Prized room design

The design of the University Treasury highlights precious objects with an exciting history. It is especially suitable for displaying delicate materials that are sensitive to light and humidity. On the floor are quotes from university researchers in the languages that have been studied at the university throughout the ages. 

The interior was designed by KAOS Architects, who won the Cultural Endowment of Estonia annual prize for interior architecture for this work in 2013. 


Getting there

  • The exhibition is located on the fourth floor of the University of Tartu Museum, which is not accessible by elevator.
  • The architects have created a design solution whereby the showcases hang from the ceiling like stalactites. Visitors are asked, therefore, to mind the lower corners of the showcases, which are about 50 cm above the ground.


  • There are a number of chairs with backs in the exhibition hall that can be moved around the room as desired.

Light and sound

  • Since the room contains several sensitive items, the walls are dark and there is little light.
  • The texts are presented in white letters on a dark background. Booklets with enlarged text, with a white background and text in dark letters, are available next to the Treasury entrance.
  • The room has background sound featuring music by Arvo Pärt, honorary doctor of the University of Tartu.
  • Two videos about research work at the modern-day University can be listened to with headphones.

Read about the accessibility of the entire building here.

Project team

Curators: Kaija-Liisa Koovit, Leili Kriis, Lea Leppik, Sirje Sisask, Kristiina Tiideberg, Tiina Vint 

Project managers: Karoliina Kalda, Mariann Raisma 

Installation of exhibits: Tanel Nõmmik, Maris Tuuling 

Exhibition team: Jaanika Anderson, Anne Arus, Janet Laidla, Virge Lell, Jelizaveta Pratkunas, Paula Põder, Ingrid Sahk, Piret Tamm, Aile Tammiste 

Language editor: Anu Lepp 

English translation: Juta Ristsoo 

Translation from Latin: Kristi Viiding, Neo-Latinist 

Exhibition design: KAOS Arhitektid OÜ 

Graphic design: Tuumik Stuudio OÜ 

Print: Salibar OÜ 

Thank you: University of Tartu Library, University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, Tõravere Observatory, Võrumaa Museum, National Archives, University of Tartu Art Museum, Estonian Literary Museum, Annely Allik, Jüri Allik, Riho Altnurme, Siim Angerpikk, Toomas Asser, Peeter Burk, Raul Eamets, Tõnu Esko, Eva Liina Asu Garcia, Madeleine Ida Harke, Kristina Hermann, Raivo Jaaniso, Alar Jänes, Karin Kogermann, Gea Kääpa, Margus Lember, Katrin Lendok, Pärtel Lippus, Enn Lust, Heidi-Ingrid Maaroos, Anton Malmi, Martin Malve, Marika Mikelsaar, Lili Milani, Mari Nelis, Gunnar Nurk, Oksana Palikova, Marili Palover, Riina Rammo, Imbi Rauk, Ülle Reier, Kertu Saar, Alar Suija, Pille Taba, Moonika Teemus, Maie Toomsalu, Andres Tvauri, Eva-Kaia Vabamäe, Laura Viidik, Taiga Film, Zbanski Kino 

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