Läänemaa Museum — 90
The idea of creating the Läänemaa Museum came from the Society for Decorating Haapsalu, which considered important collecting and preserving local historical and cultural items. On the meeting on March 19,1929 they decided to create the Läänemaa Museum, while its statutes were registered already in 1928.
Several activists of the Society belonged to the board of the museum — Dr. H. Alver, sculptor P. Espenberg (Haavamägi) and others. The town government gave two small rooms for the museum in the Town Hall of Haapsalu. Financial resources came from membership fees, donations, collecting, ete.
Nearly 300 items collected for the museum were registered and systematised in 1931. Members of the board also collected items on their trips within the district. Several teachers and other intellectuals, as well as members of societies and ordinary people donated items to the museum. Among them were tools, householding items, archaeological stray finds, books and photos. A known artist Ants Laikmaa gave several of his paintings. The local newspaper regularly introduced and thanked the
donators, calling everybody in Läänemaa to support their museum.
The first exhibition was opened in the watchtower of the Haapsalu Bishop’s Castle in the summer of 1930, on the occasion of the 650th anniversary of the town. As the humidity in this room was too high, the displayed objects were moved back to the Town Hall in the autumn.
In 1932 a display was opened in two rooms of the town government. Only in 1938 the museum received rooms in the former school (6 Kooli St.).
During the Soviet and German occupation the possessions of the Läänemaa museum were packed and neglected, which caused serious loss and damage.
In 1946 the museum was reorganised into a district museum. On May 1. 1950, in the two repaired rooms of the former Town Hall, the first exhibitions were opened. Creating the full-size exposition took still years.