Estonian national defence has two birthdays. The Estonian Defence Forces were established during the War of Independence and dissolved in 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied Estonia. Estonian national defence was reborn in the early 1990s. The Defence League was the first to be reinstated, and was followed, after the restoration of independence, by the Defence Forces of Estonia, the Ministry of Defence and other national defence authorities.
The Republic of Estonia was restored in 1991 on the principle of legal continuity. The Estonian Defence Forces also remain loyal to their traditions. Most units are descendants of the pre‑war Defence Forces units. There are currently units with specific names that emerged as volunteer battalions during the War of Independence: the Kuperjanov Battalion, the Kalev Battalion and the Scouts Battalion.
The museum exhibit features uniforms and weapons from the pre‑war era as well those currently used by the Defence Forces. The mannequins are wearing the uniform of a pre‑war Defence Forces non-commissioned officer and the fancy hussar jacket and red pants of a member of the Cavalry Regiment. The rough beginnings of the 1990s are illustrated by the first officer’s uniform of Lieutenant General Riho Terras. Also displayed are a field uniform, arms, equipment and barrack interiors, used by the military of the Republic of Estonia, a member of NATO since 2004. Visitors can try on a flak jacket, a helmet and a harness.