University’s memory institutions celebrate Academic Heritage Day today

On Thursday, 18 November, Academic Heritage Day is celebrated across Europe. On that occasion, the University of Tartu Museum, Natural History Museum, Botanical Garden and Library will set up a special installation in the city centre for a week.

The installation on the corner of Uueturu and Küüni streets depicts a mirror and aims to make the citizens and guests of Tartu think about the meaning of the university and its rich heritage in their lives. After all, the University of Tartu has had a significant role in what and how we learn at school, in the development of Estonian social and cultural life and in the growth of Tartu as a city.

“We celebrate this day every year so that more and more people would understand the extraordinary nature of academic heritage. Many universities with a long history, including the University of Tartu, have been very closely involved in the development of cities and also wider regions," said Jaanika Anderson, Director of Research of the University of Tartu Museum.

Director of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, biologist Urmas Kõljalg added: “In creating new knowledge and finding research-based solutions to problems, we advance the knowledge gathered by previous generations. In biology and geology, it is passed on through scientific collections and data archives. On the Academic Heritage Day, I invite everyone to notice and reflect on the importance of keeping this data usable for future generations.”

“Academic heritage unites the past, present and future in a free, natural and creative manner,” said Krista Aru, Director of the University of Tartu Library. “It enriches society and every person, making it possible to feel and understand how a discovery that changed the world in the 19th or 20th century can become the basis for future knowledge and ideas. This interconnection of the times can be certainly seen and felt at the university library that celebrates its 220th anniversary next year.”

On the Academic Heritage Day, the memory institutions of the University of Tartu — museum, natural history museum, botanical garden and library — open their doors to everybody free of charge.

On 18 November, the University of Tartu Museum organises its annual conference “100 years of Tullio Ilomets”, which focuses on both spiritual and material heritage, which cannot be measured by the length of one person’s life. The broadcast on UTTV starts at 11.

The lobby of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum hosts a special exhibition “They’re not rocks, they’re minerals, Marie!”. The exhibition will remain open from 18 to 21 November. On 18 November at 14, it is possible to look behind the scenes in a guided tour to the geological collections. Participants need to pre-register by calling 737 6076 or sending an email to

From 18 to 21 November, the University of Tartu Botanical Garden hosts a special exhibition of the nearly 100-year-old Mexican horncone (Ceratozamia mexicana), one of the oldest greenhouse plants in the collections of the botanical garden. The plant growing in the Palm House is most probably the same as the one described by Academician Professor Teodor Lippmaa in his 1937 book of systematic and plant geography collections.

The University of Tartu Library has currently three exhibitions. “Life on the Front Page. Estonian Newspapers 1821–2021”  shows the changing face of Estonian newspapers. “Tip of the Iceberg” presents illustrations by renowned artists Olga and Priit Pärn and their 10-year old son Märt Rudolf. The exhibition “Funny name – Pushkin!” introduces the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin as the protagonist of jokes and absurd stories, comic books, memes and even street art.

The Academic Heritage Day has been initiated by the European Academic Heritage Network Universeum.

Further information:
Jaanika Anderson, Acting Director and Director of Research of Research of the University of Tartu Museum,
University of Tartu Natural History Museum, 737 6076,,
University of Tartu Botanical Garden, 737 6180,,
University of Tartu Library, 737 5700,,