The Art of Understanding Nature

Since the end of August the exhibition „The Art of Understanding Nature” is open in the Morgenstern hall of the University of Tartu Museum.


„The Art of Understanding Nature” introduces Tartu to the wider public as a consistently acting centre of science and its heritage of science history, highlighting one of the most valuable collections of the University of Tartu Museum – G.F. Parrot's physics equipment and its usage in modern studies.

The valuable collection of physics equipment dates back to the end of 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. It is known as the office of G. F. Parrot after its founder, the first rector of the University of Tartu.          

At the beginning of the 19th century it was the best physics laboratory in the Russian Empire which allowed to do experiments and demonstrations in all major branches of physics. Parrot's laboratory on display is a collection of interactive learning materials which can perfectly explain the fundamentals of the laws of physics today. The exhibition is designed to be multi-layered and inclusive. The activities of the exhibition continue in the Cabinet of Crazy Scientist in the form of different role games and experiments.

After the re-opening of the university in 1802 the physics laboratory was founded and physics research in its modern sense began. By that time the basic laws of mechanics were already discovered and thermal physics developed rapidly. Interactions of substances were studied both in chemistry and physics. Very little was known about electricity and its relation to magnetism.


During the educational programmes of the exhibition the 1st and 2nd level (year 1-6) students are introduced to the basics and regularities of physics by applying the methods of inquiry learning and learning through new ways of involving and popularization.

The exhibition includes optics, mechanics, physics of heat, electricity and magnetism.

The team

The project manager of the exhibition “The Art of Understanding Nature” is Mairo Rääsk, curator Lea Leppik, designer Margot Sakson and craftsmen Harry Rull and Arvi Kuld.

The exhibition “The Art of Understanding Nature” will be open until the end of September 2015.

The exhibition was supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Estonian Research Agency.