NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

‘Once upon a Time’ is an exhibition about fairytales. In the wondrous world of the fairytale forest, the mundane meets the mercurial. Here you have to adjust to a different flow of time and a different set of laws.


Fairytales are somehow timeless, untethered from history, and go with their own flow. The hero sets off on his journey, in the course of which he may encounter talking birds and animals and receive assistance from unexpected quarters. A remarkable item may fall into his hands, or he may cover a great distance in an unfeasibly short length of time. At other times he may seek his fortune with such prodigious patience that he wears out seven pairs of boots ere he finds it.

Visitors to the exhibition will follow in the footsteps of such fairytale heroes,  encountering magical items, bountiful deeds, helping hands, laws of conversation, words to live by, the languages of birds and animals, monsters, heroes, pots of gold, the underworld, trials and tribulations, hard-fought victories, happy (perchance unhappy) endings and all the things one may read between the lines.

How will the exhibition enchant visitors? Adults will enjoy recalling the fairytales from their childhoods, finding out how the stories have changed over time and from place to place and getting new ideas for bedtime stories. Youngsters will enjoy encountering characters from the fairytales, exploring the fantasy worlds they exist within and discovering lots of new stories. Guided programmes will also be available.

Exhibition devised and curated by Katrin Sipelgas
Concept developed by Katrin Sipelgas, Janeli Jallai, Jaak Kilmi and Risto Järv


Gallery name: Eesti Rahva Muuseum

Address: Muuseumi tee 2, Tartu

Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10:00 - 18:00

Open: 08.02.2020 - 08.03.2021