Life on the island. Fire, water, air, earth.

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This book accompanies the main exhibition "Life on the island. Fire, water, air, earth." at the Kassari Museum House.

The central idea of this exhibition is to present life in Hiiumaa through the ancient elements, keeping in mind their widely known characteristics.

The book is written in five different languages: Estonian, English, Russian, Finnish and German.

Text: Helgi Põllo
Editor: Toomas Kokovkin
Layout: Mart Mõniste, Toomas Kokovkin
Photos from different times: Robert Mägi, Lembit Odres, Urmas Liit, Toomas Kokovkin and anonymus photos from the collection of the Museum of Hiiumaa Drawings: Valdek Alber

The publication was funded by the Estonian National Heritage Board.


Such an approach highlights the interconnectedness of all phenomena, activities, daily chores, and events. The past and the present have not been placed on a timeline here; rather, what has passed is observed as a repetitive cycle of the processes, developments, and occurrences of daily life. At the core of the exhibition is everything essential that supports a human being’s life on this island as well as everything that has endangered it at different times. The two main rooms of the exhibition have been divided by walls in the middle, so that each element is presented in a separate section. The objects and stories on display in the rooms focus on the islanders’ simple yet important skills, knowledge, and experiences.

The islanders inhabiting Hiiumaa have lived together with their island and the sea surrounding it for thousands of years. Every islander has had a dialogue with nature, passing it on from generation to generation, thus shaping our cultural heritage. Today, Hiiumaa, along with the other islands belonging to the West Estonian Archipelago, participates in UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. This means that the tradition of nature and the human being interacting with each other is being valued and preserved here with the help of education, culture, and science.