A tower full of sea: Estonian Maritime Museum
Oh how I was expecting the Maritime Museum to open after the renovation was completed! I got a peek at the Thick Margaret Cannon Tower a few weeks before the renovated museum opened. Everything I heard on that round seemed really interesting.
Shortly after my first visit, the museum opened to the public, and I too wanted to rush to see it. However, I wanted to save the visit for a trip to Tallinn when my husband would be with me. Namely, he as a sea captain and maritime history buff had been waiting for the opening of the new Maritime Museum even more than I had.
Maritime Museum: first preparations, then go!
What preparations? Before visiting, you should download the mobile phone application of the Maritime Museum to your phone. It gives you an overview of the six exhibitions on display. Download the iPhone app here. For some reason, the Android app isn’t available right now, but the museum told that it will appear in the Google play at the latest when the museum is open again.
You can also redeem an audio guide through the museum’s exhibitions for a small fee from the museum’s ticket counter. You may want to take your own headphones with you on the trip!
From the seabed to the top of the tower
The architecture of the museum is elegant but also imaginative. It is the achievement of Koko Architects, who has garnered much praise, honor and awards. The tour starts from the “bottom of the sea”, i.e. the basement of the house. At the same time, we are also moving on a historical timeline from prehistory to more modern times.
The exhibitions go hand in hand with the history of the tower, as you can also peek into the structures of the medieval city wall from many places – a small piece of the old street has also been left as part of the exhibition. The whole is interestingly built, and the audio guidance gives it more depth.
The ground floor is dominated by the stunning Hanseatic-era Cog ship hull, which is the pride of the museum. It is a valuable wreck found underground in Kadriorg, which sheds light on the maritime history of Tallinn from the time when the city was one of the most important centers of Hansa trade in the North Baltic Sea.
Did you know that the Estonian Maritime Museum has another location? The magnificent Lennusadam Seaplane harbour is at least as much worth seeing as this one! Take a look at these pictures, and go wonder in case you haven’t been on location yet.
The exhibitions of the Maritime Museum take you from history to the present day
The journey continues, guided forward by audio guidance – both physically and figuratively. The tower’s three exhibition floors tell the story of three eras in maritime history: the times of sailing, steam, and modern motor ships. Each floor focuses on one of these periods.
There is a lot to see, so you should reserve enough time for the visit. In addition to the items in the display cases, there is a lot of interactive content, videos, and concrete things to do on all floors. Everything is worth testing – this is how you get the most out of your museum visit.
Maritime Museum: what we liked about it
My company at the museum was my husband, who has seen maritime museums around the world. For him, the renovated Estonian Maritime Museum may not be the most profound and thorough for a true enthusiast of the field, but he did like it for its entertainment and interactivity. The magnificent architecture and visuals were also praised by him – and by me too!
We also liked:
- The architecture! The medieval structures of the thick Margaret have been nicely displayed and have been wonderfully combined with modern architectural solutions. In the middle of the round tower is a cylindrical stairway and a glass-walled curved-walled elevator. Great solutions!
- Many electronic screens bring museum themes to life in an interesting way. The ship simulator was one great example of this, as was the museum’s humorous specialty: a disco and karaoke familiar from all ships sailing to Finland and Sweden.
- I can hardly wait to get back there in the summer when it’s warm. From the top of the tower there are magnificent views far in the direction of both the harbor and the Old Town. Great idea that there is a cafe in the summer!
The Estonian Maritime Museum is located in the Thick Margaret Tower at the beginning of Pikk Street. It was built as a cannon tower in the early 16th century.
Originally, the tower served as part of the city’s defensive fort, which controlled uninvited guests from entering the city. On the museum tour you can see parts of the old walls. Next to the thick Margaret Tower, through the Great Shore Gate, goods brought to the port were transported by ship to the city. The piece of wall above the gate is also part of the museum’s exhibition. These parts of the exhibition are a bit hidden, so be careful not to miss them!
Address: Pikk 70
from May to September Mon–Sun 10–19
from October to April Tue–Sun 10–18
Check the opening hours of the holidays on the museum’s website.