Tsar Peter I of Russia bought this 17th-century building from Elisabeth Buchau, the widow of the Tallinn alderman Hermann von Drenteln, for 1400 roubles. After 1714, the Tsar and his wife Catherine I stayed here several times.
Peter I used to enjoy the view of the city and the Gulf of Tallinn from the edge of Lasnamäe right behind the house. This vantage point allowed him to observe the enemy warships which, due to the ongoing Great Northern War (1700–1721), patrolled the Gulf of Finland and made frequent approaches to Tallinn. A small garden, both for practical purposes and pleasure, was built for Catherine I. This was the beginning of Kadriorg Park. The house was abandoned after Peter’s death and left to decay. The decisive moment for the Tsar’s heritage was the visit of Emperor Alexander I to Tallinn in 1804. At his orders, the house was fixed up and opened as a museum in 1806. Peter the Great House Museum has been operating as a branch of the Tallinn City Museum since 1941.
The museum is dedicated to the era of Peter the Great and the history of Kadriorg Palace and Park in the 18th century. Several items that belonged to Peter and his wife are also on display. The gallery features a series of portraits of Russian rulers, the oldest of which is an original portrait of Mikhail Romanov dating back to the first half of the 17th century.