The section on early military history in the permanent exhibition, located on the museum’s ground floor, depicts the long period from prehistoric times up to the beginning of the 20th century. After the wars between Estonians and crusaders from Germany, Sweden and Denmark 1208–1227, the Estonian territory was divided up between Denmark, the Livonian branch of the German Order and the bishops, and the country became a battleground for their sporadic wars against each other. There were also occasional lootings by the Russians and Lithuanians. As of the middle of the 16th century, the great European countries – Sweden, Poland, Russia and later also Germany – began to fight over the Baltics.
How have attitudes towards war changed and how have the weapons, military equipment and warfare evolved over time? How do you operate the oldest recorded firearm, found near Otepää in Estonia?
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a Russian 76‑mm M1900 field gun, originating from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Estonian Defence Forces used these guns in the War of Independence and afterwards.