In October 2023, the first stage of the project “Narva Wooden Baroque” took place in the Narva Museum

Together with the Estonian Academy of Arts and the Pallas University of Applied Sciences, the Narva Museum started exploring the collection of fragments of 17th-18th century Baroque wooden sculptures and ornaments. These pieces of art with a 300-year history have not been exhibited for more than 70 years.

On October 2-6, within the framework of the project, the inventory of the wooden Baroque collection was carried out: the objects were described and photographed, cleaning and preventive conservation were conducted.

The project team made several discoveries. It turned out that in the collection of the wooden Baroque of the Narva Museum there are objects from two churches: the St. John's Church (the former Swedish Dome Cathedral) and the Narva Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (the former St. John's Church). With the help of historical photographs, it was possible to find out that a large number of ornaments are parts of the frames of picturesque paintings from the St. John's Church. A photograph from 1940 depicts a pair of paintings in luxurious Baroque frames from 1738. Earlier, it was believed that the paintings along with the frames were lost during the Second World War.

On October 3-4, everyone could watch the work of restorers with authentic items of church decoration, which were previously hidden from the public eye.

A small series of lectures was held within the framework of the project “Narva Wooden Baroque”. Thanks to the performances of art historians, we can better understand the history of Narva and the specifics of the local culture. The lectures and the video report of the project are available for viewing on the museum's website.

The Narva Museum has many hidden treasures, which we are gradually revealing to the public. This is not an easy work at all, as objects often need conservation and detailed exploration before being exhibited.

Our project is an important first step in a large–scale research endeavour. Already in 2024, we want to start the second stage of the project "Narva Wooden Baroque". We plan to continue the conservation and exploration of the collection with our partners from the Estonian Academy of Arts and the Pallas.

Project Team:
●    Managers: Jelizaveta Pratkunas, Jüri-Martin Lepp
●    Advisers: Dr. Hilkka Hiiop, Dr. Hannes Vinnal
●    Coordinator: Anne Raud
●    Students interns: Eleri Paatsi, Elena Madaminova, Lotta Räsänen, Tõru-Tõnn Parts, Raigo Kannike, Carmen Ööbik, Helene Lüüsi, Silver Tsäko
●    Translators: Kristiina Matt, Polina Bargan
●    Curators of the museum collections: Galina Smirnova, Irina Koževina