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Exhibition "Crime and Punishment: University Lock-up"

In the attic of the University of Tartu main building is a small, mysterious room that bears witness to the time when the university had its own separate legal system.

In the 19th Century, minor offenses committed by university employees and students were in the jurisdiction of the university’s court. For the more serious ones, student offenders could be punished by having to spend time at the lock-up in the attic of the main building.

In 2018, exhibitions dedicated to the main topic of Crime and Punishment will be opened in the three University of Tartu Museum buildings, focussing on the history of forensic science and the legal system. The University of Tartu Art Museum supplements its lock-up cell with a new exhibition that tells stories of the misdeeds of the 19th Century students. The exhibition explains the main reasons why students were punished in the last decades of the 19th Century, and how severe the punishments may have been. The visitors will also see what kind of messages the students in lock-up left behind in the form of writings and drawings on the walls.

Only one of the historic lock-ups has survived, the rest were destroyed in the main building fire of 1965. Access to the surviving lock-up and the attic of the main building is available with a museum ticket from the University of Tartu Art Museum.

You can also visit the exhibition Crime and Punishment at the main building of the museum (Lossi 25, Tartu) and Crime and Punishment: Spectrum Reveals Secrets at the Old Observatory (Lossi 40).

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