Vaivara Sinimägede (Blue Hills) Museum
“What more is there to say? Eight months of frontline combat eradicated Vaivara. Very few locals returned. I stopped in Vaivara, on my way to Narva, in November 1944. The only things still remaining were the Bay of Narva, Narva River and the deep spring fed pond in the school yard, everything else was battered or destroyed.” Written by August Martin, local resident, teacher and cultural heritage journalist.
The Sinimae area was already impacted by the war in 1941, followed by conflict from February to August 1944. The museum gives an Estonian perspective of the complexities of the last world war.
The museum was opened in 2008, in an old renovated manor granary. The exhibit includes armaments, uniforms, soldiers’ personal effects, war time photographs, propaganda posters, etc. Guides can be arranged for hiking or bus excursions and various special programs are available.
Online exhibition: Vaivara before and nowdays
The exhibition juxtaposes approx. 100-year-old and modern photographs from the parish of Vaivara.
The old pictures come from the collections of the Estonian National Museum. The photos are anonymously authored, except for two shots taken by the well-known ethnographer Ilmari Manninen. The oldest recordings are dated 1910, the newest 1937, 2/3 of the images are undated.
The exhibition was prepared by Ivika Maidre and Sven Udam. Today’s photos were taken by Sven Udam in November-December 2015. The photographer tried to capture the same objects from the same angle as when taking historical photos. It was not always successful, because the landscape and buildings have changed beyond recognition over the course of a century…
In the Footsteps of the Second World War from Vaivara to Viimsi
History trail in the Blue Mountains: military fortifications of three eras
The Vaivara region has been a hotbed of warfare throughout the centuries, and the traces and consequences of wars can still be seen in Sinimäge. The oldest visible military buildings date from the time of the Great Northern War, from the beginning of the 18th century, when before the second battle of Narva, the Russian defense rampart was completed to stop the Swedes. The Sinimäge fortifications of the ground forces, i.e. tunnel warehouses for artillery ammunition on the easternmost mountain, date from the end of the tsarist period.
The events of the battle of Sinimäge held in the summer of 1944 in Vaivara district are the most well known. Most of the information comes from commemorative and other history books, but here you can see three hills with your own eyes and hear the story of the events that took place here 76 years ago.
Bus tour around the region: attractions, historical sites and places of natural beauty
STORIES OF THINGS
During the program, students learn about the stories of the museum’s exhibits: what and what the soldiers ate, where the documents were kept, what the soldiers’ uniform should be and what they carried.
You can touch and try the exhibits (helmets, hats, weapons). It is said that why do we keep things in a museum.
Age: Elementary School.
DO NOT TOUCH THE BOMB!
Children watch the film “Don’t touch the bomb”, they can see and touch things found in the Blue Mountains.
Worksheets/drawing sheets are filled in at the end of the lesson.
The program is in cooperation with the rescue agency.
Age: 4‑6 grade.
WORLD WAR II IN ESTONIA
Warring parties of World War II, what was the weaponry, uniforms.
Estonians in the Rifle Corps and German military units, what were the choices and were they voluntary choices.
1944 German retreat battles in Estonian territory, situations in which there were Estonians on both sides of the front.
How is it known and found today who is buried in mass graves.
Introduction of weapons and uniforms, including the armament of which army the weapon was part of and what were the characteristic distinguishing marks of the armies.
Excursion to Põrguaugumäe (memorial to those who fell in World War II) and Parkimäe (the Vaivara manor was located on the mountain and there are bunkers from World War I).
Watching the movie “1944” if desired.
Age: 10-11th grade.
During the program, students learn how to read a map, what the symbols and colors on the map mean. Using the map, students find checkpoints and solve the corresponding tasks. The terrain game goes through the most interesting places of Sinimäe settlement, such as Sinimäe elementary school, World War I bunkers and Pargimägi.
A visit to the museum will also take place during the game.
Age: 4‑6 grade.
The museum is coming to visit. Military uniforms and weaponry
Students will learn about the Second World War on the territory of Estonia.
Get acquainted with the uniforms and weapons of the German and Soviet armies.
If desired, there is an opportunity to try on clothes.
Age: elementary school, high school.
THE LANDSCAPE THAT INFLUENCED WARFARE
The study program consists of 2 main parts:
Hike in the Sinimägedel – gives an overview of the peculiarities of the landscape, its history, geographical and geological features, vegetation and introduces the places related to IIww.
Practical task – reading maps of different times, positioning and analysis of landscape changes.
A war game
- Students receive mobilization invitations. In the course of the program, you will learn how an Estonian got into the army and what uniforms he wore; what were the weapons that were used at the time.
- Living conditions during the war, including the distribution of food stamps.
- Organizing an air alarm, the subject of the March bombing of Narva.
- Providing first aid.
- How trenches were dug and when they are useful.
- Excursion to Pargimäe (the Vaivara manor was located on the mountain, there are bunkers from the First World War).
- Watching the movie “1944” if desired.
Age: 10-11th grade.
Time travel 1944
The Vaivara Sinimägede Museum invites you to take part in a time travel, where the 1944 escape from the Narva region is relived. Before the adventure takes place, the participants are sent a scenario via e-mail, which describes the evacuation and offers roles according to the participants. This gives you the opportunity to make choices about what to take with you, what to wear, and what the menu for the picnic at the end of the journey could be. Also, the pre-sent scenario helps to give the participants some hints to observe certain details during the adventure, so that the journey is as real as possible. But creativity is also always welcome and often makes the adventure even more memorable and enjoyable.
Time travel is suitable for both adult groups of friends and families with children. It is very different from other similar adventures and provides a good opportunity to discuss modern refugee issues later.
In such an undertaking, it is not possible for each journey to proceed in the same way as all the previous ones. The adventurers themselves play a very important role in this adventure. It all depends on the participants. Therefore, the adventure is completely unique and creates new emotions for everyone, including those who have already gone through it before.
The instructors conducting the time travel are specialists in their field who have carefully thought out the entire scenario. So you can be sure that the service you experience will be first class.
Pre-booking is required to consume the adventure, and the journey begins at the Vaivara Sinimägede Museum.
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