Princess Mary’s Diamond GBE Star in Tallinn

The movie Downton Abbey has been stirring up a buzz for the meticulously recreated period costumes and jewelry, but we have of course focused on the order insignia, and especially so, as the movie features Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, the late aunt to HM Queen Elizabeth, played by Kate Phillips.

The movie is set in 1927, the same year that the Princess was made Dame Grand Cross of the British Empire and she is portrayed wearing the insignia, including a purple sash of the Order, at a fictional ball thrown in honour of her parents, George V and Queen Mary, at Harewood House.

Most of Princess Mary’s personal archive, including correspondence, diaries, clothing and personal effects have recently been handed to the National Trust and we can expect to see them at the Harewood Estate.

Fans of the movie will be interested to know that Princess Mary’s original diamond star of the Order of the British Empire can be seen in Tallinn (Estonia) at the Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood. The beautiful diamond star was comissioned for the coronation of her brother George VI (1937) and was worn by her on many occasions.

By the way, visitors to the Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood can also see the diamond-studded garter, similar to the one worn by George V.

ICOM Kyoto 2019

The 25th General Conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has just finished in Kyoto and was a great success! More than 4500 participants from 120 countries and regions gathered here to discuss and exchange ideas and experiences. Estonia was represented by 25 delegates, including those from the Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood. Our Curator Catherine Lapinsh made a presentation  History from a Different Perspective.

During the 7 days of the conference museum workers from all over the world could exchange their views on the future of museums and discuss the important issues that museums face in the modern world. It was a great opportunity to get acquainted with Japanese museums, culture and traditions. Memebersof the ICOMAM were able to see the traditional production of katanas and learn the process of taking care of the swords in the collection of the Kyoto National Museum.

Summer Internship at the Tallinn Museum

 The Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood has many different programmes for children, teenagers and young people. And this summer we launched our internship programmme. In July we welcomed our first interns! Youngsters from the age of 17 took advantage of the possibility to find out what it would be like to work at a museum! For two weeks students from Finland worked besides curators, researchers, guides and welcoming staff.


For certain, having an acute interest in history is essential to enjoy working at a museum, but our research laboratory also provides a good platform for those who are science enthusiasts.

One of our young interns was most interested in research, and with some guidance from our team he performed the analyses, both chemical and historical, of two new objects that have just recently been added to the funds of our museum.

His research made it possible to determine, that one of the coronets, initially thought to have been made for the coronation of Edward VII, in 1902, was actually made more than half a century earlier, for the coronation of Queen Victoria!

He also got a chance to show off his skills by making a presentation of his work at his high school in Finland and a research poster for us.

If you are a student (17+) and are interested in trying yourself as a museum worker at the Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood next Summer, make sure to check our site for more information in February 2020. We look forward to sharing this experience with you!

Another reason to visit the Baltic region this year!

As if you needed another reason to come to Tallinn or Helsinki – two beautiful cities very conveniently connected by a 2-hour ferry ride. Well, if you are interested in orders and decorations, then this year you have just one more – the new exhibition at the National Archives of Finland in Helsinki, Rauhankatu 17 – Finnish Orders of Merit: 100 years, organised by the Finnish Chancery of Orders. The opening took place on 4 December, the exhibition will last for a year and is free to enter.

Apart from showcasing the history of the development of the Finnish honours system, its traditions, rules of wearing decorations it also shows the awards of Mauno Koivisto (an exhibition that could previously be seen at the Turku Castle).

The exhibition includes all the awards of President Mauno Koivisto
Koivisto’s Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (1970)
Mauno Koivisto – the Golden Order of the International Olympic Committee (1994)
Mauno Koivisto – 1st Calss (Grand Cross) of the Terra Mariana Order of Estonia (2001)
Mauno Koivisto – Knight with Collar of the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim (1982, Collar 1983)
Mauno Koivisto – Knight of the Danish Order of the Elephant (1983)
Mauno Koivisto – Order of Lenin of the USSR (1983)
The Finnish Honour System – insignia of the Orders of the White Rose and the Lion of Finland
Secretary of Legation Leo Sager’s medal bar and miniature chain
Decorations of the Order of the Cross of Liberty
Proposals for the insignia of the Order of the White Rose of Finland by  Gallen-Kallela
Gallen-Kallela Order of the White Rose
Gallen-Kallela’s scetch for a decoration
Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the White Rose of Finland
Akseli Gallen-Kallela: first scetch of the Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the White Rose of Finland
scetches of the Order of the White Rose
Honoric Order of the Rose of Finland. Gallen-Kallela’s scetch on the lid of a sigarette case (2 February 2018) with accompanying letter
“Star Showers”  in December due to Awardings in connection with Independence Day (Helsingin Sanomat 1952)
Fownder of the orders – Marshal of Finland Gustaf Mannerheim

Don’t forget to pick your own copy of the Catalogue at the Exhibition!

There is also an excellent brochure from the Exhibition in Turku. It is in Finnish  Swedish and English.

Hosting the International Women’s Club of Tallinn

This Wednesday the Tallinn Museum was host to the wonderful ladies of the International Women’s Club of Tallinn (IWCT). The members of the Club met for their monthly morning coffee event and had a tour of the museum. 

Of special interest were the Insignia and history of those orders whose members were actively involved in charity work. One of the main purposes of the IWCT, which this month celebrates its 25-year-anniversary, has been raising funds for local charity organisations, which, in the spirit of orders of knighthood, protect the orphans, the disabled and the abused. 

And on this occasion, many women were bringing donations for the upcoming and very popular Christmas Bazar (to be held on the 25th of November at the Radisson Blue Sky Hotel), which each year with the help of the international community, Embassies and local businesses raises close to 40.000 euros for charity.

If you are interested in learning more about the IWCT or taking part in the Christmas Bazar, please visit their site
and follow them on Facebook

Guided Tours Every Last Saturday of the Month! Sign up Now!

Join our curators as they take you on a guided tour of the museum and tell you the history of the Orders and ther decorations, share themost interesting stories and innuendos and answer all our questions regarding the collection. Find out were the orders of the Bath, Garter and Golden Fleece got their names from and what Sacred Treasures gave the name to the famouse order of Japan.

Every last Saturday of the month
12:00 Children’s Programme
14:00 Estonian
16:00 Russian

Free tour with entree ticket. Registration necessary.
Groups are small, register today!

Tallinn Museum Supports Young Collectors

The Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood took an active part in last weekend’s International Philatelic Exhibition in Tallinn!

Visitors to our booth could see some never before displayed rarities from our museum’s collection. Including precious medieval coins and the medal of Estonia’s very own Olympic Gold Medallist  Aavo Pikkuus. We also walked away with some pretty impressive awards, including a Large Vermeil Medal in the Invited Class for our Rarities Collection.

But the most exciting moment for us all was helping to determine the winner of our special prize. It was in a special category that is very important to us – Best Exhibit presented by the Young Collectors. Our museum makes considerable efforts in catching the attention of the youngest generations, sparking their interest in history and research, lifetime learning and collecting. It is impossible to overestimate the significance that the work of collectors has for Museums. Not only do they save the objects that could otherwise have been easily lost to us forever, but they also conclude an enormous amount of research selflessly and passionately. The continuity of this work is extremely important, which is why we were so happy to see presentations from so many young collectors at the EstEx2018 exhibition in Tallinn. The decision was incredibly hard for us to make, as all of the Young collectors deserve special recognition. 

Our prize – a Unique essay of the 1973 stamp the Tallinn City Hall by Anatoliy Kalshnikov, signed by the author  went to Anna Mörke for her exhibit A Normal Day, with the hope that it would encourage the young philatelist to come visit Tallinn and inspire her to continue the work in preserving, researching and displaying everyday items that we so often take for granted, but that tell so much about us all. We were especially touched by the theme and excellent choices for her presentation, as Museum curators we know only too well that even the most valuable piece needs a great presentation, and without visitors, Museums would be just warehouses of memories. And we look forward to seeing Anna’s exhibits displayed in museums one day.

Tallinn Museum in the Press

POSTIMEES: Eesti eramuuseumis avastati Peeter Suurele kuulunud orden
Україні передали копію шведського Ордена меча, яким нагороджували Григорія Орлика
Идем в музей! Шведский орден Меча и новая выставка “Сокровища с Королевской улицы”
«Гетманской столице» передали копию шведского ордена Орлика
Näitus „Vabamüürlaste aarded“ Tallinna Rüütliordude Muuseumis
В Таллиннском музее рыцарских орденов открылась выставка "Таинство масонской символики"
SPUTNIK EESTI: В Таллинне нашли орден Белого орла, принадлежавший Петру I
DELFI: Внезапное открытие: орден из таллиннского музея принадлежал Петру Первому
Tallinna TV: New Museum in Tallinn
ETV+: В Таллинне открылся уникальный музей наград и орденов
PEALINN: Jüri Kuuskemaa rüütliordude muuseumist: seal on metallehistöö kõrgeim tase!
LINNALEHT: Tallinna Rüütliordude Muuseum eksponeerib 700 hinnalist ordenit
POSTIMEES: в Таллинне открылся новый музей
ERR.EE: Galerii: avati Rüütliordude muuseum
imeline ajalugu: Tallinnas avati rüütliordude muuseum
МК - ЭСТОНИЯ: В Таллинне открылся музей орденов