Aro Velmet x Sindi Muuseum

Aro Velmet

Exhibition „City of Dreams“ with audio tour in the Sindi Museum and in the city


Exhibition with audio tour at the Sindi Museum and in the city 03.07.2021–05.09.2021 The factory is work. The factory is home. The factory is joy. The factory is education. The factory is politics. The factory is life.

This is how the industrial age dreamt of a rational society. Like engineers, who made production lines work with millisecond accuracy, so were carefully planned factories meant to lead to the flourishing of human communities. Such utopian experiments abound across the globe. New Lanark, Scotland. Fordlandia, Brazil. Kimberley, South-Africa. Magnitogorsk, The Soviet Union. Sindi, Estonia.

The urban tour “City of Dreams” takes the visitor on a journey of factory towns across three centuries and four continents, all hidden in different parts of Sindi. An audio guide introduces the visitor to people whose lives have been entwined with the Sindi textile factory since birth. Informational displays scattered around the town show how the same industrial currents that shaped factory towns across the world, also shaped Sindi. Did factory towns offer workers with previously unimaginable comforts, welfare, and education or did they hold their workforce in an iron grip? How were capitalist and socialist factory towns different from one another? What remains of a factory town, once the factory is gone?

Are the dreams built into factory towns fantasies… or nightmares?

Aro Velmet is a professor at the University of Southern California, specializing in the history of science, technology, and medicine. In Estonia, Aro is primarily known as a literary critic, essayist, and the editor of the magazine Vikerkaar. He is interested in a wide range of topics: colonialism, the history of science, industry and the environment, health, gender and equality, economic and social equality, liberalism and democratic freedoms, and cultural history

The Sindi Museum is located in the building where the Sindi Broadcloth Factory was founded on November 17, 1902 as the first cooperative in Estonia. The Sindi wool factory, which has ceased operating today, was the first real mechanized large-scale industry in the area, founded in 1833 by Johann Christoph Wöhrmann, a merchant from Riga. The main exposition of the museum introduces the history of the Sindi textile industry and factory, the life of the factory workers and the history of the city and school of Sindi. In the small kitchen you can see the tools and crafts of the last century. An overview of Sindi’s educational, sports and social life is also on display

Exhibition “City of Dreams” with audio tour starts in the Sindi Museum and continues in different locations around the town.

In the museum one can view also special exhibition. In 2015, students at the Estonian Academy of Arts and at the Tallinn University of Technology, studying architecture, interior architecture, conservation and engineering proposed four ideas for reinventing the town of Sindi and tying together the ruins of the factory, the riverside and the inspiring small town. The plans that emerged from these workshops were presented, in Tallinn, to the students’ advisors, the owner of the factory territory and the head of the town council of Sindi. Today, these visions are exhibited in Sindi for the first time.

NB! For audio tours, please bring your own device with internet connection and headphones! Audio tour can be listened to: 

Concept and author: Aro Velmet
Architecture: Kaarel Künnap
Production: Kaarel Künnap, Ants Borkvel
Graphic design: Viktor Gurov
Translation from russian language: Darja Andrejeva, Juri Vihterpal
Sound editing: Paul Lepasson

Thank you: Aita Puust, National Archives of Estonia, Estonian Public Broadcasting, Estonian National Museum, Estonian Academy of Arts, University of Southern Estonia, Miloš Jovanovic¯, Linda Kaljundi, Ingrid Lekk, Uku Lember, Jana Malõh, Katherine Marino, Aadu Must, Indrek Raadik, Anneli Randla, Tori Parish.

Sindi Museum is open:
Wed–Thu 11.00–17.00
Fri–Sun 10.00–16.00
Free entry

Address: Pärnu maantee 26a, Sindi town, Tori parish, Pärnu county

Aro Velmet in front of Sindi Museum, Winter 2021

In English