The core of the permanent exhibition of the museum is made up of European and Chinese ceramics and porcelain, and Western European paintings from the former collection of Johannes Mikkel.
The display of porcelain provides a good overview of the developments in this field of art in Europe in the 18th to the 20th centuries. The exposition includes characteristic examples from the Meissen Porcelain Factory, the Sèvres Porcelain Factory, the Imperial Porcelain Factory in Saint Petersburg and the Royal Danish Porcelain Factory in Copenhagen.
The paintings on the walls are mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries, with the 17th-century Netherlandish school being predominant among them, as these paintings were relatively numerous and available for good prices. There are a few examples from Italian, French, German and English art.
Some of the paintings are copies of works by the artists admired by the collector (e.g. P. P. Rubens, A. van Dyck, A. Canaletto and W. Hogarth), but there are also some intriguing works of good artistic quality which are of interest from the art historical point of view, such as Supper at Emmaus (1630), by an unknown Dutch Caravaggist, and Finding of Moses (1714–1717), by Jean-François de Troy, a renowned French master of history and society paintings from the 18th century.
The permanent exhibition of the Mikkel Museum provides a thorough overview of Johannes Mikkel’s collection, showing his love of art and art history, his efforts at preserving cultural heritage and his desire to surround himself with beauty.
The collector’s room was furnished to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Mikkel Museum, to show visitors the private dimension of the items displayed in the museum and to remind visitors that these objects used to belong to the collector Johannes Mikkel’s (1907–2006) home, a standard Soviet three-room flat in Tallinn. The thematic installation is supplemented by Andres Sööt’s documentary Külaskäik (A Visit, 1987), which shows the works of art, exciting stories related to them and the meanings the collector himself assigned to them. In the words of Johannes Mikkel himself, “Art will always find a way to the people who truly love it.”