Friday, 11 October 2013

2013 is the Year of Cultural Heritage in Estonia

VEMU - Museum of Estonians Abroad

The end of the Second World War began a half-century of exile, where only some Estonians could enjoy freedom and be free to express themselves creatively. We had chosen freedom – an option open only to a minority.
For those brought up and educated in a free society, their experiences in the Estonian diaspora have been varied and rich in experiences. Our ethnic organizations unite us and we have fulfilled our obligations towards keeping the continuity of the Republic of Estonia. We have enriched the cultural life of our adopted countries – especially in the multi-cultural mosaic of Canada. We have made contacts and created permanent institutions to increase the awareness of Estonia by the local population.
The Estonian diaspora has almost 70 years of memories – some very traumatic. Let us retain and protect this heritage. Museums, archives and libraries are repositories of our historical accomplishments as well as our present activities. These collections must grow now and in the future because this is a mark of a multi-faceted and historically aware society.
The objective of VEMU (Museum of Estonians Abroad) is to become the depository of the archives, printed materials, art and artifacts of the Estonian diaspora. These items are to be kept and made available for the research and study of our history. The collaboration of the Estonian Studies Centre with the University of Toronto’s Chair of Estonian Studies and other Estonian organizations is shaping VEMU into a North-American centre of Estonian history and culture.