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Washing Machine Made of Beetroot

This is a joint exhibition project of the Estonian Road Museum, the Estonian Agricultural Museum, and the Tartu City Museum on invention, ingenuity, recycling, and do-it-yourself mentality. It doesn't matter how old you are or which skills you have, we try to give you a little push towards DIY.


“Made a washing machine out of beetroot” is an expression that dates to the Soviet era. At that time, people were incredibly inventive, with great craft skills. Back then, the do-it-yourself mentality was associated with scarcity, yet today, it’s in fashion. In our culture of (over)consumption, people are into creating something with their own hands as opposed to always buying new things.


Each museum explores a different topic, according to its field.

At the Estonian Road Museum, you can experience the invention and ingenuity of road workshops and private garages. The garage culture, repairing, and home-built vehicles still have a strong presence all over Estonia.

Estonian Agricultural Museum will inspire you with horticulture and gardens, applied textiles, food preservation methods and home-built agricultural machinery. It’s highly likely that in 2024, we’ll be sticking our fingers into the soil to grow foods.

Tartu City Museum shows you what it was like living in deprivation during the Soviet era. If what was needed was not available, people had to take the old and turn it into something new, or at least pimp it up a little bit. They made their own clothes, cosmetics, hobby equipment, and even household appliances. The City Museum has collected these stories and self-made items. Come and get clever ideas for reusing and upcycling!

You’ll also have the chance to get involved in the educational and public programme and participate in an international scientific conference. DIY needs discussion and advocacy.


The joint exhibition of the three museums stands out, as there is power in collaboration. We value creative DIY skills and sustainable thinking.

The world becomes interesting when unique personalities and items come into play. But you have to know how to create them, and they have to work. Experiencing the DIY of the Soviet era will inspire people to invent and live sustainably.

What’s your beetroot and what can you turn it into?