From “such people” to LGBT activism

From June 9, 2023, a new audio journey will be open at Vabamu's permanent exhibition, titled From “such people” to LGBT activism. Stories from sexual and gender minorities in the 20th century Estonia.

Vabamu's permanent exhibition tells the stories of repression and the aim of freedom. The exhibition is accompanied by an audio guide, which will receive a new level – namely the audio journey that tells the stories of Estonian LGBT people of the 20th century. The curator of the new audio journey is Rebeka Põldsam, a doctoral student in ethnology at the University of Tartu. The new audio guide layer guides the exhibition visitor through the Vabamu permanent exhibition, drawing attention to some new and some old objects that help understand Estonia's LGBT history.

What happened to “such people” during World War II? How and where was homosexuality discussed in Soviet Estonia? What led to the decriminalization of homosexual relationships? What role has marriage played in the lives of homosexual people in Soviet times and today? The audio guide in Estonian, English and Russian brings to the museum the stories of LGBT people, from the time when we were called "such people" to today's LGBT activism and community issues.

The LGBT audio journey is part of the project Practices and Challenges of Mnemonic Pluralism in Baltic History Museums (Estonian Science Foundation, PRG1097, leader Ene Kõresaar), by the Institute of Cultural Sciences of the University of Tartu, and is supported by the Estonian Research Council, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.


Curator: Rebeka Põldsam (Tartu University)  

Project leaders: Kirsti Jõesalu (Tartu University), Piret Karro (Vabamu)

Dramaturgy: Kertu Moppel

Sound designer: Lauri Kaldoja

Designer: Agnes Ratas / Stuudio Stuudio