The permanent exhibition Rye Barn was opened on Assumption Day on August 15, 2015 in the hay barn built in 1914 as part of Ülenurme's historic manor complex In Estonian Agricultural Museum. The exhibition gives an overview of an important area of rural life which includes the cultivation of winter rye in Estonia in the course of nearly a thousand years as well as activities related to rye cultivation.
The exhibition aims to provide an up-to-date introduction to the historical importance, cultivation and modern uses of winter rye, the Estonian national grain and symbol of cultural heritage, as well as promote the long-term traditions related to rye bread, our national food, and highlight the importance of rye bread on our dinner table. Rye Barn is an important stop on the Estonian Rye Route and a developing rye centre in the republic which will gain an international dimension next year with partners from Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Germany, Poland and other countries. The opening of the exhibition was a celebration of the Estonian Year of Rye 2015, the 170th anniversary of the birth of Friedrich von Berg (the "Rye Count"), the breeder of rye variety ‘Sangaste', as well as the 140th birthday of ‘Sangaste', the oldest cultivated rye variety in the world still in production.
The exhibition provides an overview of winter rye cultivation, harvesting, threshing, winnowing and flour production and a variety of tools. Visitors will have the opportunity to try their hands at threshing and grinding work (beating rye against a threshing bench, beating grain with flails, winnowing grain using a winnowing sieve or a machine, crushing rye grain using a millstone or a mortar, grinding with a quern). In addition, visitors can put their skills to the test by trying to identify various grains (barley, oats, wheat, rye) in wooden bowls on the table.
Additional information in Estonian, Russian and English about the history of rye cultivation and rye varieties bred in Estonia can be found on the information board.
The exhibition is aimed at a wide audience in Estonia, as well as at foreign visitors. We welcome nursery school children, schoolchildren of all ages, students, people travelling on the Estonian Rye Route and everyone else interested in rye cultivation. The exhibition is accessible to visitors with special needs.
Exhibition curator: Ellen Pärn (the Estonian Museum of Agriculture)
Designers: Laura Vähi, Marat Viires (the Estonian Museum of Agriculture) and Liivi Ehmann-Kaarli (interior decorator)