The museum of Rootsi-Kallavere is a rather organic part of the lives of the people of the village as it reminds us of our roots. It also provides insight for the visitors into life on farms in the past.
Before the villagers were forced into collective farms after World War II, there were large farms in the village of Rootsi-Kallavere. A lot of the older farm equipment, that was no longer in use, was still stored on the farms as people did not have the heart to dispose of it. It is possible that holding on to objects that originated from the time when Estonia was an independent state (1918-1939), helped the locals to commemorate the lost time of independence.
Some years ago we started thinking about gathering the historic items to ensure that they are preserved and also to display them. Right in the centre of the village the barn of Käspre farm, an old stone building, was falling apart. The barn is probably the oldest building in the whole village. The good location and our mutual interest to fix the building led to the idea to find a new purpose for the barn. With the support of the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA) it was possible to put a new shingles’ roof on the building. The new rafters were made of round wood just as at the time when the building was first built. The barn needed more extensive work than was initially foreseen, because the walls had sagged and were full of cracks and thus needed to be re-laid in parts.
In the spring of 2006, the building was ready: the roof, walls, ceilings and floors had been completed and windows and doors were in place. Exhibits started pouring in. Most of them were farm tools and commodities, handicraft works and clothes, books and magazines that had once been used in the village. The most significant contributor to the museum was Kivimäe farm, where very good craftsmen used to live and where hardly anything was ever thrown out.
The festive opening of the museum took place in May 2006. The collection has increased considerably after the opening – exhibits have been brought from near and far. So what can you see at the museum? The most valuable items are those that allow the visitors to get glimpse of the life in the village before World War II. For example, the wagon for hauling milk, milk containers, measuring vessels from the time of the Russian Empire, tools for processing linen, threshing machine for grain, fishing equipment, shoemaker’s tools, the beautiful handicrafts prepared by the village women, delicate lingerie from the beginning of the 20th century.
In the spring of 2011, an extension to the museum was opened at the barn of Mihkli farm. The maritime and fishing exhibition will be transferred there in the future. Currently there are three looms in one of the rooms. During the winter months it is possible to weave carpets and fabrics there. In the first winter, more that 60 carpets were weaved there.