August Pulst was an artist of life whose contribution to preserving Estonian national heritage through collecting antiquities and recording traditional music cannot be overestimated.
He was born in Pärnumaa on January 14, 1889. He studied to become an artist and he painted until the end of his life. Despite that, he is remembered as a collector of antiquities and a preserver of traditional music.
August Pulst gained his first experience of collecting antiquities as a university student in 1911 when he gathered historical objects from approximately 60 Tori families. Pulst's collecting quests were characterised by his wish to explain to the locals the importance of collecting antiquities and preserving them in the museum. His zealous interest for collecting and preserving historical items has resulted in numerous valuable additions to the collection of the Estonian National Museum. August Pulst was directly involved in the founding of four museums, three of which, the Art Museum of Estonia, the Estonian Theatre and Music Museum, and the Tori Museum became a reality straight away and the open air museum was established some years later.
Furthermore, August Pulst was a passionate fan of traditional music. His home was located in a quiet village of Kiisa where genuine village music could often be heard. August himself played the violin, mandolin, harmonica and the guitar but also a little bit of the accordion and the bagpipe. In addition to recording traditional music, he also organised tours for village musicians all over Estonia during 1922-1936. The profit he gained from the tours helped to cover the costs for establishing more than one museum.
Pulst had a lot of hobbies. In addition to writing memoirs about his collecting quests and tours, he also enjoyed writing plays. Moreover, Pulst was a wine connoisseur who was also able to make marvellous wine himself.
August Pulst died on November 22, 1977 and he is buried in Tallinn.