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“Fantastic little museum”
Review of Great Guild Hall

Great Guild Hall
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3-Hour Private Tallinn City Tour
Ranked #33 of 293 things to do in Tallinn
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Tainan, Taiwan
Level Contributor
73 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Fantastic little museum”
Reviewed 24 September 2013

I had a lot of pre-conceptions about Tallinn before visiting, thinking that it would have an over-riding Soviet feel. Quickly these feelings got eradicated speaking to locals, this museum taught me a lot about Estonian History and I definitely got the impression Tallinn feels more like part of Northern Europe, which the city itself has a feel of. It was amazing to learn about the years of occupation by other countries and the heavy Baltic German, Swede, Russian influences over this country. This museum really made me feel for the Estonians, and what they've had to put up with over the centuries and I almost felt for Estonia that it is an independent country free of foreign rulers. I spent a good hour and a half here and it was a good way to finish a trip to this city.

Visited September 2013
Thank Chapeltom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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208 reviews from our community

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Palo Alto, California
Level Contributor
62 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“I wish we had haad more time!”
Reviewed 6 September 2013

The Eesti Ajaloomuuseum is in a 600-year-old building, located at Pikk 17 in the Old Town, is easy to pass, since it adjoins and looks like almost any of the others on this main street of the town. In fact, all the buildings were on the street were contemporaneous, but this one was originally a guildhall for the “Great Guild.” Members of the Great Guild were the former members of “Brotherhood of the Blackheads.” The Brotherhood was an organization of merchants who were legally not independent or who had no established business in Tallinn, local unmarried merchants, and foreign merchants. Members also included goldsmiths, chemists, scholars, and schoolteachers.
During the Middle Ages, the Brotherhood bachelors were required to attend daily meetings in the Great Guild Hall to prepare them for membership and to learn the merchant trade. After class, most of the members retired to the vaulted halls downstairs to enjoy a few beers by the fireplace. The members of the Great Guild had to be married men to belong. Down the street a separate guildhall was for the bachelors.
The main hall of the museum contains historical items dating back to the 11,000 years of history on the Baltic.
The first level gave us a video introduction to the history of the country and its art through history.
The next level down contained exhibits of medieval history … the arms and armors of the knights, the housing and living conditions of the period and the folk costumes. I found the arms and armor of the knights particularly interesting. Even in the British Museum (as I remember it) there is nothing as informative about the medieval knights as in this museum.
For example the following exhibits: the armor of the knights: the horses’ armor weighed over one hundred pounds, the knights’ armor weighed about 140 Kilo, 80 pounds. The cavalry sword weighed at least 15 pounds (12 kg.), the two-handed sword used when a knight was dismounted must have weighed about 25 pounds and was about one and two thirds meters (five feet) long … almost as long as the warrior of that time was tall. Can you imagine the strength and training of a knight both to fight mounted and to wield that sword when he was thrown off his horse?
In the firearms exhibit that contained both ancient and modern weapons a computer-based simulator allowed firing the user’s choice of weapons and illustrated the results on a video screen.
The museum was not only ancient exhibits. We found a booth over which a sign read “Time Machine.”
I stepped on the footprints on the floor and a flash of light surprised me. Then the booth went dark and a screen lit in front of me. A “movie” started to dramatize an animated scene from the lives of the primitive tribes inhabiting Estonia 10,000 years ago. My wife was watching over my shoulder and suddenly said, “Look, that man looks like you.”
I looked more closely at the image and saw that the tribesman crouching near the fire was wearing glasses and, sure enough, it was my face!
The electronics had captured my face with the beginning flash, transformed my image into a three-dimensional representation and inserted it into the scene.
After my brief scene, my wife stepped into the booth. The flash went off and the video played out a scene of Nazi soldiers herding prisoners into trucks. Her face was on one of the prisoners. That was decidedly unsettling.
Nevertheless, this was one of the most interesting historical museums we’ve ever seen.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank LouiePaloAlto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
61 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Estonain history in a nutshell”
Reviewed 24 July 2013

This is a small museum but has inter active displays and provided an interesting potted history of Estonia as well as other national details. Free day when we were there but would have been worth paying for. Tallinn has many small museums in it's historic centre and is a wonderful city to visit.

Visited June 2013
Thank MalvernMoneyman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
552 reviews
364 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 427 helpful votes
“A nice little museum in the old town”
Reviewed 30 May 2013

We stumbled onto this little museum as we were wandering around the old city. It contained some interesting exhibits and helped increase our knowledge of Estonia's history. Don't put it on your "must see"list, but if you are passing by, do pop in for a look.

Visited May 2013
Thank TravelbugVietnam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
106 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Some designers sold the museum a bill of goods”
Reviewed 17 May 2013

Unfortunately, it looks as though some slick designers sold the museum on a display that is confusing, distracting and does a disservice to the history that it is supposed to explicate. This is unfortunate because it is housed in a wonderful medieval guild hall. The attempt at "modern" communication fails, in our judgment. The show cases, which oddly cant inwards at the bottom, make it very hard to see the lower items and read the information. Reflections are a serious problem. There are peculiar free-form vertical "clouds" scattered throughout which have difficult-to-read text and add to the visual overload. Many of the interactive features failed to function properly when we were there. The failure of this museum to communicate clearly contrasts to the wonderful job done by the nearby Tallinn City Museum (Linnamuuseum) on Vene. We love museums — this one was a disappointment, the only one during our three days in Tallinn.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank OldMaineTravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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