Our collections

The basic collection of the Estonian Health Museum (totally 22801 items in year 2020) is separated into four subdivisions: object, photograph, document and publication collections.

Collection of objects

Collection of objects contains 4245 museum pieces – instrumentation and objects from the fields of pharmacology, surgery, ophthalmology, laboratory research, neurology, gynaecology, therapy, urology, stomatology, first aid and otolaryngology. Our collection provides an extensive overview of the products manufactured by Tallinn Farmaatsiatehas (the Tallinn Pharmaceutical Factory) and its predecessor; EPHAG Ltd, medicine vials, tubes, containers and tablets reveal the broad range of their product line.

The Museum has a considerable collection of embalmed organs, organ systems as well as an embalmed human. There is a unique collection of gall-, bladder- and kidney stones. However, the prized object of the medallion-badge collection is a Florence Nightingale medal (given to estonian nurse Anette Massov in 1939), and the most romantic museum piece is a wall mirror from the first museum in Tartu. The wall mirror finally arrived to us in 2002, after having been in private use by the donor and her great aunt for the previous 60 years. The small art collection includes works (paintings, graphics and sculptures) featuring doctors and medics. The largest portion of this art collection comprises of paintings by Tartu psychiatrist and Estonian Artists’ Association member, Dr. Aksel Eist. Some of the oldest exhibits are an amniotic sac from 1874, and a collection of prescriptions from the years 1865 – 1905.

Collection of photos

Collection of photos has 7555 photographs and negatives from the end of the 19th century to the present day, depicting the themes listed above. Some of the oldest original photographs are of nurses serving in Harbin, in the Far East, during the Russo-Japanese War. Of particular interest is an album from the 1897 – XII International Congress of Physicians in Moscow; in which, among others, 150 doctors who had studied at the University of Tartu took part.

Collection of documents

Collection of documents is comprised of 7490 museum pieces – old and new documents concerning pharmacies, hospitals, polyclinics, doctors’, and nurses’ studies at the Tartu University Faculty of Medicine, its professors-faculty, the Temperance League, the Red Cross, health management, events and many other things. Of considerable value is a pharmaceutical prescription collection from the days of the First Estonian Republic; the journal from the Hospital for Infectious Diseases from 1901, as well as the journal of the Nordic-Baltic Physicians’ Association from 1912, which bear witness to the medical history of those days.

Collection of publications

Collection of publications holds 3326 items. The oldest publications include German-language doctoral dissertations in medicine from Dorpat (Tartu) from the years 1870 – 1880. It is very likely that the Museum has all of the Healthcare Museum publications from the Tartu days. This collection also includes posters and postcards.

Secondary collection

In addition to the Main Collection, the museum also has a Secondary Collection, presently containing 3988 museum items. In the Secondary Collection, materials which do not meet the criteria for inclusion in the Main Collection, but which are connected with Estonian medicine or health, are preserved.

Collections of Estonian Health Museum are digitally available from Museums Public Portal at: muis.ee/catalogue

Please contact our Head of the Collection Management Eero Kruusmaa (eero@tervisemuuseum.ee, 5307 3382) regarding information and consultations about our collections.