In order to encourage Estonians abroad to take more active part in the preservation of their historical heritage, the non-profit association the Baltic Heritage Network (BaltHerNet) has been arranging information days in Estonian communities outside of Estonia. So far, information days about Estonian cultural heritage have taken place in Stockholm, Saint Petersburg, Hamburg, Toronto and Petroskoi/Petrozavodsk. On Saturday the 30th of October 2010, the turn had come to the Estonian House in New York.
The presenters came from Estonia, Canada and the U.S. The event was opened by Piret Noorhani, who in addition to the general issues surrounding the preservation of Estonian cultural heritage outside of Estonia also introduced the American Estonians to the aims and plans for the Museum of Estonia Abroad (VEMU). Tiiu Kravtsev from the National Archives of Estonia (Tallinn) spoke about Estonian archives around the world. Merike Kiipus from the Estonian Literary Museum (Tartu) spoke on Estonian émigré printed works. Kravtsev and Kiipus also gave the audience a thorough overview of archive and library databases.
Enda-Mai Michelson-Holland introduced the audience to the activities of the Estonian Archives in the U.S. Inc., followed by Elizabeth Haven Hawley from the Immigration History Research Centre in Minneapolis, who spoke about the Elmer Epner collection which has been deposited at the IHRC together with many other Lakewood archival collections.
The event was organised by the New York Estonian House and the Estonian Archives in the U.S. Inc.The information day was financially supported by the Compatriots Programme.
The guests from Estonia and Toronto were taken on a visit to Lakewood and introduced to the current situation of the archives there. The participants also discussed plans for future co-operation.