The predecessor of the Tallinn University Estonian Pedagogical Archives and Museum – the Tallinn City Pedagogic Museum (TCPM) founded on the basis of the Tallinn Central Library of Primary School Teachers – started its activities on 18 January 1922, with Aleksei Janson (1866–1941), one of the founders of the Library of Primary School Teachers (1892), as its director.
The primary task of the museum was to gather study materials and lend these to schools, furnish study offices and hold sample classes, because teachers needed more efficient methodological and practical assistance in building up the national school and improving its substantive work in the Republic of Estonia after it gained its independence in 1918. The main emphasis was on study materials for physics, chemistry and biology. Those were ordered from Germany, Austria and France, but the museum itself also started making the materials. Under the leadership of Aleksei Janson, private limited company Work School was established in 1922 for the procurement of study materials and school supplies. A permanent exhibition of study materials and student works was opened at the museum in 1924.
In 1927–1945, the TCPM was located in the building at Väike-Pärnu Road 19a (currently Sakala Street 23). At first, the museum was only on the first floor, but later also expanded to the second. The more spacious premises allowed the museum to expand its activities. The rooms of study materials were also furnished as study offices where students could be given practical classes. A nature room was established.
|The aquarium room in the 1930s|
In 1928, a lecture room was established for presenting new pedagogical literature, demonstrating study materials, holding lectures on various subjects, and organising gatherings.
In 1930, a cinema department and a filmotheque were established at the museum to hold film screenings for students and lend 35 mm film projectors to schools for showing educational films. Upon the museum’s initiative, the public broadcasting also started broadcasting school radio programmes in the 1930s. In 1931, the museum opened a summer tour centre in Kadriorg to organise study tours into the nature for city kids. In order to supply Tallinn schools with botanical study materials, the museum established a fruit and vegetable garden in 1934.
The TCPM was no longer just a place that lends study materials to schools, but had become an active voice and leader in the Estonian education scene. Following the example of the TCPM, a pedagogical museum was founded in Tartu in 1922 and in Pärnu in 1937.
In 1945, the museum was reorganised into the National Further Training Institute for Teachers (NFTIT) which also inherited a part of the TCPM’s assets. Many museum items had been destroyed in war and the remaining ones were handed over to the Museum of Natural History, the Station of Young Nature Enthusiasts, and schools, some books were given to the Central Library.
Upon the initiative of Endel Pirn (1921–1987), the director of the NFTIT, the collection of educational history related documents, photos, memoirs, old textbooks and school furnishings started again in the early 1960s with the aim to re-establish the museum. The museum was established as a subunit of the NFTIT on 1 June 1983 under the name of the Pedagogical Museum. Manuscripts, photos and a large number of items gathered in the 1960s as well as materials that had belonged to the pre-war TCPM were handed over to the museum. Endel Pirn was appointed the director of the museum.
In 1983–1993, the museum was located at Kooli Street 4 (currently Gümnaasiumi Street 4; the Tallinn Old Town School for Adults is now located in the building). At first, the museum had one classroom at its disposal. From the late 1980s, it had two classrooms and obtained an additional room in the Sakala Street 21 building in 1991.
In 1993, the museum was upon the proposal of its then director Ilmar Kopso (born 1944) renamed as the Estonian Pedagogy Archives and Museum (EPAM). In the same year, the museum was moved to new premises on the 4th floor of the Pronksi Street 3 building where it remained from 1993 to 1999.
|Exposition in 1993|
As the information era approached, the EPAM discontinued using its card catalogues and was the first among the Estonian museums to transfer to electronic catalogues in 1995.
In 1999, the EPAM was joined to the Tallinn Pedagogical University (now Tallinn University) and moved to Raadiku Street 8. The spacious premises allowed the museum to organise large-scale exhibitions and hold both speech meetings and lectures (including for students).
In 2005–2010, the museum was located in the storage rooms of the former library of the Tallinn Pedagogical University at Narva Road 29. In connection with the construction of the Tallinn University Astra building, the EPAM was in autumn 2010 moved to the house of the Institute of History on Rüütli Street.
|Entrance to the muuseum in 2009|
Since November 2016, the museum is located in the same building with the Tallinn University Academic Library at Rävala Boulevard 10.
1922–1941 Aleksei Janson
1983–1987 Endel Pirn
1987–2006 Ilmar Kopso
2006–2007 Mare Torm, acting
2007– ... Veronika Varik