воскресенье, 27 декабря 2015 г.

Tampere. Part II. Spy Museum

I got off the train Helsinki - Tampere at 1 p.m., so I had three hours before I could check into Omena Hotel Tampere. Museums close early everywhere around the world, that's why I decided to start with them and to see the city from the outside on the way.

My first stop was at the Spy Museum. Founded in 1998, this museum became the first of its kind in the world. Wiki even states that there aren't any other museums connected with espionage in Europe. It was correct when I visited Tampere but since the 19 of September it is not right anymore.

The museum provoked conflicting feelings in me.

I enjoyed reading the texts which accompanied the displays. The story about the Sanada clan and their successful defense of the castle having 3 thousand soldiers against nearly 20 thousands, as well as mentioning the fireworks as a tool of a spy made me recall one of my childhood hobbies: reading about ninjas and samurai. Going through the texts about famous spies, like Mata Hari, I gained some insight into the intriguing parts of the world history which passed me by. But the record in surprising me was established by soviet paratroopers. If you are from one of the ex-USSR countries, then this question is to you: what do you know about the Winter War? I remember that hardly a couple of pages in the textbook were dedicated to it. I also recall an interesting documentary shown by our history teacher. The most striking detail of that film was that Finns took advantage of the snowy days and deterred the Soviet army advance with their rapid-moving ski troops. But even the documentary hadn't featured Soviet paratroopers. But they arguably were the first regular paratrooper units in the world. What is more significant, the first airborne combat drop in history was performed by them exactly during the Winter War.

Another thing, I enjoyed in the Spy Museum, was espionage devices, about which I've never heard before. To be precise, not the devices themselves (most of them were pretty unattractive) but their concepts amazed me so much. Among them I can mention shotgun microphones (they accept sound from one direction only), photosnipers, a camera hidden in a pen.

However, I'm sure I could become familiar with all of the above in a good book while a museum should provide other experience than a text. Exhibits should be eye-catchers but almost all of them in the Spy Museum of Tampere presented a sorry sight.

There was one more detail which I disliked very much. Around a half of the displays was devoted to the XX century (together with the beginning of the third millennium). Lots of the texts contained descriptions of double-edged historical events (the official positions on those events of Western countries on one side and either ex-USSR countries or China on the other side still differ). The descriptions provided both points of view but presented them not as equal ones. I had a feeling that they laughed at Eastern countries opinion. I'm sure, it is a shame for a museum. Especially taking into consideration that all texts presented in the Spy Museum were available not only in Finnish (as it is in some of the Finnish museums) but in ten languages (Russian among them).

While people fight against intrusion of politics into sports, politics gets into museums. And it is far more dangerous.

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