Heaps of happiness!? An exhibition on well-being, mental health, and balance


Discussions about what really matters in life are as old as humankind. The subject of happiness is full of mystery and raises many questions. What is happiness? How can you find it? Why are some people and nations happier than others? These issues interest psychologists, philosophers, politicians, and each and every one of us when we start to contemplate our lives. There are people who can be happy and content regardless of difficult times. Others cannot feel any joy in their lives and circumstances even when they have many positives.

In May, the Estonian Health Museum opens a new exhibition ‘Heaps of Happiness!? An exhibition on well-being, mental health, and balance’. The exhibition explores what makes people happy and highlights issues of mental health and coping. We share practical tips for concentrating on our positive inner strength and make conscious efforts towards a better life.

The exhibition is meant for everyone – young people, families, kindergarten and school groups, and adults. Children will have plenty to discover with the exhibition pieces created specifically for them.

For older audiences, several of the pieces and virtual tests offer opportunities to learn more about themselves and their desires. For example, a personal balance wheel helps to gain an understanding of how happy you are with your life.

One of the most important topics of the exhibition is mental health. The mental and physical well-being of all of us is extremely important, regardless of age, gender, and location. This focus is relevant now more than ever in the context of the global coronavirus pandemic and crisis. Visitors can read about several personal experiences which demonstrate how well-hidden mental health problems can be; however, each story also offers hope and solutions. The educational programme created for this exhibition is meant to encourage open discussions between young people and their family and friends about mental health issues.

Several scientists and psychologists were consulted during the creation of this exhibition. Architects Nele Šverns and Karin Tõugu created the bright exhibition space; graphic designer Martin Veisman and artist Anna Ring took care of the cheerful and playful graphic design.

When visiting the happiness exhibition, you can also take a look at our permanent exhibition ‘A Heart to Heart about Your Body’. In addition, you are welcome to view the exhibition ‘Successful Caricatures’ by AW Stuff cartoonists in the stairwell gallery on the first floor (Am. 2nd floor) of the museum.

Author and poet Ellen Niit once said: ‘Happiness is your own doing! You are holding the keys to it. Find what makes you happy and work towards it!’

Project team

Curator: Ülle Kask

Project management: Herke Kukk, Anne-Mai Helemäe

Texts: Tiina Jõgeda, Jaan Aru, Ülle Kask, Liisi Kööts-Ausmees, Andero Uusberg

Consultants: Anu Realo (University of Warwick, United Kingdom), Tiina Jõgeda (Eesti Ekspress), Anna-Kaisa Oidermaa (MTÜ Peaasjad), Minna Sild (MTÜ Peaasjad), Merle Purre (MTÜ Peaasjad), Jaan Aru (University of Tartu), Andero Uusberg (University of Tartu), Liisi Kööts-Ausmees (University of Tartu), Tõnu Viik (Tallinn University), Ülli Kukumägi (Bodylanguageacademy.ee), Tiina Saar-Veelmaa (Aaretesaar), Helena Väljaste (Vaikuseminutid.ee)

Educational programs, family level content and exhibits: Marleen Soosaar (concept), Anti Saar (story), Anna Ring (illustrations), Kalle Tikkas (technician)

Room design: b210

Graphic design: Martin Veisman (Ruum 414)

Development of ideas, digital solutions, exhibits: Mikk Meelak, Annika Tähepõld, Mikk Pärast, Anneli Kripsaar, Villem Vatter (Platvorm)

Cooperation: Helena Rummo, Elina Liiva, Vallo Toomla, Aivo Rannik, Arian Levin, Jennifer Scholz, Martin Männik, Agnes Isabelle Veevo

Estonian language editor: Hille Saluäär

Translations: Avatar, Jegor Jermakov, Kristi Leps, Ross Seymour

PR and communication: Optimist Public, Andres Arendi, Kristi Leps

Production: Siltau Systems

Technical equipment: RGB

Print house: Digitrükk

Thank you: Annika Paas, Christiin-Pauliin Kivi, Jüri Arendi, Karl Erik Saks, Karmen Kozma, Lenne, Liis Velsker, Lisett Marmei, Maie Tooming, Margo Orupõld, Mart Niineste, Mia Reinus, Taavet Unt, Taavi Kuri, Toivo Aavik, Uku Arne Arendi, kõik Tervisemuuseumi inimesed

Estonian Health Insurance Fund, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement, Estonian Research Council, MTÜ Pärnu Naiste Varjupaik (Pärnu Women’s Shelter), Narva Museum, Facebook followers of Peaasi.ee, Pärnu Museum, SA Kiusamisvaba Kool (Bullying-Free School), teachers and students of Tallinn University Baltic Film, Media and Arts School, University of Tartu Museum