2010 marked the launch of Road Time, a new exhibition environment of the Road Museum.
This exhibition was built in the great outdoors and it brought some unexpected architecture to the fields of Southern Estonia. Road Time, which takes up about 1.5 hectares, consists of two larger parts – an exhibition area and a rest area. There are a historical road space, various road signs and machines in the exhibition area. The rest area has a track of skill, a traffic town and a playground. The two areas are linked by the Vati Bridge, the oldest steel road bridge in Estonia, dating back to 1884.
Road Time is a road that has come loose in time and space; it is inhabited by vehicles from the past and the future. The road of Road Time, which is one of a kind in Europe, consists of six different types of road surface: swamp road, dirt road, gravel and cobblestone road, as well as blacktop and asphalt concrete. All parts of the Road Time represent different road types from different time periods and corners of Estonia or Old Livonia, including landscaping and road signs of the corresponding period in time. A great example here is the swamp road, which is based on sections of swamp road found and excavated from Kata Heinasoo, or the section of old Otepää road in Tatra valley, which was used as a prototype for the cobblestone road. The road runs in a curvy trench that presents the road and the associated space in such a manner that one time and one place are within the field of vision at the same time.
There are characters in costume wandering around the historical road space, they conduct various programmes to the delight of visitors, thereby illustrating the entire exhibition environment and making it come alive. You are sure to encounter the innkeeper lady, the travelling salesman or musician, but you should also be ready to run into law enforcement aka the militia. And if you are really lucky, you might even meet Kristjan Jaak Peterson himself, who tells fascinating stories of his trip to Riga and who, when in a creative mood, can even talk in rhymes. Whoever happens to meet a village man in front of the Ambla store shall hear intriguing stories about the goods that one could buy in 1930ies or about everyday life of those days.
Road Time is a unique outdoor exhibition environment, which in addition to introducing the history of traffic and roads, provides opportunities for traffic education and rest. In 2011 this expansion of the Estonian Road Museum got the Tourism Innovator award from Enterprise Estonia; in 2012, readers of the Pere ja Kodu magazine (Family and Home) chose it as the most child-friendly museum in Estonia; in 2010 the graphic concrete walls of the outdoor area received the Concrete Building of the Year award.
The exhibition environment Road Time was created with support from the European Regional Development Fund.
NB! Road Time is open from May to October, groups can visit it during other times as well, but only when booked in advance.