Estonian Literary Museum

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Kirjandusmuuseumi maja Tartus, Vanemuise 42

The Estonian Literary Museum (ELM; Estonian: Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum), is a national research institute of the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia. Its mission is to improve the cultural heritage of Estonia, to collect, preserve, research and publish the results.[1]


The ELM acts as a central archive, in particular, of Estonian literature and folklore.[1] It is divided into 5 divisions:

  1. The library (with archive and bibliography). Founded in 1909 with 10,000 Estonian language volumes, it currently has a stock of 809,000 works of books and periodicals in other languages, as well as pamphlets and maps.
  2. Estonian folklore archive (EFA), founded in 1927. It explores the customs, folk dances, songs and text, etc. The collection particularly covers Finno-Ugric folklore, but also Baltic German, Russian, Jewish and other ethnic groups.
  3. Estonian Cultural and Historical Archive (ECHA), established in 1929. It combines the previous collections of the Estonian Literary Society and the National Academy Museum. The largest collection contains manuscripts and monographs, followed by those for photos, art and film & Audio
  4. The Department of Folk Music, in 2000 ELM affiliated with the former Academy Institute with some 3,000 works. They are also periodicals such as the Ars Musicae popularis and Vana Kannel.
  5. The Department of Folklore, founded in 1947. Edits academic journals and 6 publications, and maintains the Monumenta Estoniae Antiquae.

Apart from the specific business of the divisions, they also organize exhibitions and campaigns, technical meetings, conferences and various seminars.


The history of the Estonian Literary Museum began in 1909 with the founding of the Estonian National Museum and Archive Library in Tartu.

During the Second World War, the institute was split into two state museums covering ethnography and literature. In 1946 the museums were re-combined. starting in 1957 the Literary Museum has held a two-day conference on literature and folklore each December, the so-called "Kreutzwald days to remember" (Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald is an important Estonian writer). Some years after the restoration of independence in 1995, the museum received its former name back and extended the publication of its annual almanac to articles, primary source texts and research.


  1. ^ a b Estonian Literary Museum,, accessed 8 March 2013

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Coordinates: 58°22′26″N 26°43′04″E / 58.373931°N 26.717881°E / 58.373931; 26.717881