University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Faculty of Science and Technology are celebrating their 220th anniversary this year. The museum and the faculty, which are closely intertwined and stand for common values, were founded in 1802.
Over the centuries, the University of Tartu has been home to many world-renowned scientists, including one Nobel Prize winner - Wilhelm Ostwald. Many of those currently teaching and researching at the University are also among the top one per cent of scientists in the world.
The exhibits at the University of Tartu Natural History Museum are a meeting place for science, history and fascinating stories, and have been used by generations of nature lovers. It is Estonia's oldest museum, and was founded with the establishment of the Natural History Cabinet in the Natural Sciences Department. Gottfried Albrecht Germann was appointed the first professor of natural history and director of the museum.
Although the founding day of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum is considered to be 6th April, the museum will celebrate its anniversary together with the Faculty of Science and Technology a month later, from 9th to 14th May 2022. During the week, there will be nature-related festivities and conferences, including the celebration of Estonia's 3rd Taxonomy Day with the international conference "Biodiversity Digital Services".
Alongside the anniversary events organised throughout the year, there will also be the traditional events of the Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden: the eighth Nature Festival and the fifth BioBlitz in June, and the traditional Mushroom Week in September. In autumn, the University of Tartu Faculty of Science and Technology is organising a conference “Natural scientists on sustainable development: what colour is the future?” and the Orienteering Week.
9th May 2022 at 7 pm at Natural History Museum, Vanemuise Street 46-301
Writer Tõnu Õnnepalu will talk about nature and poetry. In the second half of the evening, actor Pääru Oja will play the guitar and read Aleksander Suuman's poetry.
10th May 2022 at 7 pm at Natural History Museum, Vanemuise Street 46-301
Lecture by art scholar Kadri Asmer on the theme of nature in visual art and Ilmar Malin's mural "Strata vitae" and a concert by the LUULEIN association. An improvisational work "Strata Vitae", dedicated to the Museum of Nature, will be performed. Composition: Jaan "Luulur" Malin (vocals), Leonora Palu (flute), Indrek Palu (violin).
11th May 2022 at 7 pm at Natural History Museum, Vanemuise Street 46-301
Polar expeditions and citizen science
Tiit Pruuli, leader of the polar expeditions on the sailing ship Admiral Bellingshausen, and Maris Pruuli, the ship's co-pilot, talk about citizen science and cooperation with the University of Tartu Natural History Museum. They will also talk about the beauty of Antarctic and Arctic nature, the dangers and routines of shipboard life against a backdrop of icebergs, whales, polar bears and drone images. In the second half of the evening, the multi-instrumentalist Ööamööb and Sulg will give a performance "Cold Expedition" inspired by sailing over Antarctic and Arctic sound waves and drifting together on polar sound oceans. The programme is based on the travel book the Pruulis have published (in Estonian "Jäine igatsus. Armastus Antarktika moodi").
12th May at 7 pm at Natural History Museum, Vanemuise Street 46-301
A lecture-concert by composer Märt-Matis Lill on the sounds of nature in musical composition. The evening will conclude with a performance of his work "To the Birds".
13th May at 7 pm at Natural History Museum, Vanemuise Street 46-301
Meeting with director Jaan Tootsen and Veljo Runnel, the recorder of nature sounds.
On 14 May, members of the Estonian Research Infrastructures Roadmap object "Natural History Archives and Information Network" (NATARC) and the Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library (BiCIKL), together with the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, will host a hybrid conference "Biodiversity Digital Services" as part of the third Estonian Taxonomy Day. The conference is in English and will take place at Oecologicum (J. Liivi 2, Tartu) and online.
The conference is part of the programme of the 220th anniversary of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and the Faculty of Science and Technology, and its main topic is services provided by global digital infrastructures, including publishers. Presentations will focus on the open data on species, their availability, the ways in which species information is delivered and the coherence of different data types. Data on species and the relationships between species are paramount for analysing and understanding communities. Therefore, digital infrastructures storing data need to comply with common international standards, and their managers need to work closely together to link and publish data.
"It makes perfect sense for the international conference to take place in Estonia. Estonian researchers are at the cutting edge of the theoretical foundations of biodiversity digital services and the creation of practical services. Estonia is one of the few countries where most species information is available from a single data portal – the eBiodiversity website. Led by Estonian researchers, a unique DOI-based digital platform for species information has been developed and is increasingly used by gene banks and data portals," said Professor Urmas Kõljalg, Director of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden.
Speakers of the conference include Joe Miller (Director of the global biodiversity data network GBIF), Lyubomir Penev (Managing Director the academic publishing company Pensoft Publishers), Urmas Kõljalg (PlutoF platform), Henrik Nilsson (community of the global UNITE database for the sequence-borne identification of fungal species) and Kessy Abarenkov (UNITE community).