National Museum Permanent Exhibition
Rooms 001-005 The Coin Cabinet - Coins, Medals, Orders and Decorations
The Coin Cabinet exhibition consists of three parts: coins, medals, orders and decorations. The exhibition focuses on the history of Finland while also providing background information on conditions in other countries. Alongside means of payment and tender used in Finland, it also presents a selection of coins used throughout the world from Antiquity to the present day.
The oldest part of the Coin Cabinet consists of the collection of the Academy of Turku, which was not completely destroyed in the Fire of Turku of 1827. The exhibition includes a selection of notable donations and acquisitions from over the years.
Read more about the Coin Cabinet's collection here
Rooms 006-008 The Silver and Jewellery Room
The exhibition on goldsmithing is divided into sections on silver and jewellery. The main focus is on Finnish goldsmithing. Through different types and forms of objects, the silver exhibition presents the introduction of new customs in Finland from the 16th century to the present day.
It also shows how the various predominant styles were adopted in Finland at different times, and the source and direction of influences. The exhibition also tells of the development of the craft of goldsmithing over the course of several centuries in Finland.
The jewellery exhibits present the types of jewellery that were fashionable at different times from the Renaissance to the present day.
Room 009 The Armoury
On display in the Armoury are weapons and personal armour from the 1560s to the 1870s.
Read more about The Historical Collections here
Silver 2 mark coin from 1867 is one of the rarest coins in Finland.
Rococo tea-pot, silversmith Nils Enberg, Turku 1779.
Harnesses from 17th century.
The oldest evidence of human activity in Finland is from the Susiluola cave site dating back over 100,000 years to before the last Ice Age. The cave is situated at the border of Kristiinankaupunki and Karijoki in Southern Ostrobothnia in Western Finland.
The area of Finland was resettled after the Ice Age, and around 9,000 years ago there were dwelling sites of the so-called Suomusjärvi Culture in the southern and northern parts of the country. The Stone Age population subsisted on hunting, fishing and gathering. Seal was the main game animal. In Finland, the middle and late stages of the Stone Age are called the Comb Ware and Corded Ware cultures according to the typical forms of ceramics made and used at the time.
Agriculture and animal husbandry began to spread around 4,000 years ago, and approximately 3,500 years ago metal was introduced. The most prominent remains of the Bronze Age, however, are large burial cairns found in the coastal regions of Finland.
Bronze was a rare metal, but the adoption of iron around the beginning of the Common Era, gradually made metal available to the whole population. The periods of the Iron Age in Finland are named according to the phases of European history, and are known as the Roman Iron Age, the Migration Period, the Merovingian Period, the Viking Age and the Crusade Period.
In Finland prehistoric times ended with the conversion to Christianity and the establishment of Swedish rule. Western Finland became part of the Kingdom of Sweden in the middle of the 12th century, followed by Karelia in the late 13th century.
Read more about Archaeological Collections here
Elk-head soapstone sculpture from Huittinen, Western Finland, from Stone Age 7000-6000 BC.
Silver hoard from 12th century. Found in 1887 at Joensuu (Åminne) manor, Halikko, South-Western Finland.
Room 105 The Middle Ages 12th - 16th centuries
In Finland the medieval period was synonymous with the power of the Catholic Church. The beginning of the Middle Ages in Finland is dated to 1155 AD, when - according to legend - the Swedes undertook the so-called First Crusade to convert the Finns to Christianity.
The end of the Middle Ages is conventionally dated to the Reformation, which began in the 1520s.
Room 106 The Catholic Church Room - Medieval Ecclesiastical Art 12th-16th centuries
In the medieval world the church was the absolute centre of all human activity. To be excommunicated, banished from the pale of the church, signified a cancellation of all rights and complete isolation from the rest of society.
With its sacraments, the Catholic Church controlled the individual's life from birth to death, and even beyond the grave. Christians could also rely on a horde of saints, assisting and mediating between man and God. Each church contains the images of at least its own patron saint, the Virgin Mary and the crucified Christ, with other images of saints at side altars.
Approximately 800 preserved medieval wooden sculptures and reredoses are known from Finland.
Rooms 107-108 The Reformation and the Lutheran Church Room - Ecclesiastical Art 16th - 18th centuries
The beginning of the Reformation is dated to 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his theses protesting the sale of indulgences on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg. In Sweden the Reformation was associated with the king's economic and power-related policies.
King Gustavus Vasa wanted to obtain funds to pay the state debt by taxing and confiscating the property of the church. The decrees of the Riksdag (Diet) of Västerås in 1527 crushed the political and economic power of the church. The Reformation did not begin to make itself felt in ecclesiastical art and decoration until the early 17th century. The pulpit was a one of the main new features of the churches.
Room 109 Funerary Objects from the 17th century
Room 109 next to the Lutheran church room, contains items and exhibits related to noble burials from 17th century. Funerary coats of arms and suits of armour belonged to the burial customs of the nobility during Sweden's period of dominion in the 17th century.
Large coats of arms carved from wood were borne in funeral processions and placed in churches in memory of the deceased, as was also done with funerary swords and suits of armour.
The room has access to the Armoury, the Silver and Jewellery Room and the Coin Cabinet at the basement level.
Room 110 The Crown - The Vasa Rulers and the Renaissance 16th century
This part of the museum building represents a 16th-century round cannon tower.
The emergence of the Swedish state and its rise to become a leading European power, the development of a society of classes and estates, the Reformation and its establishment, and the flourishing of Renaissance culture all took place during approximately one century, from the reign of Gustavus Vasa in the 1520s to the death of Gustavus II Adolphus 1632.
Room 111 Regional Developments - Borders, towns, communications
The history of Finland's borders from the Treaty of Pähkinäsaari (1323) to the War of Finland (1808-09) and the annexation of the territories of so-called Old Finland in 1812 and setting of boundaries between Norway and Russia (1826, 1830) and Soviet Union (1940, 1944 and 1947) are presented with maps in this room.
The Treaty of Pähkinäsaari (Noteburg) in 1323 was the first demarcation of the eastern border of Finland. The border remained disputed and was not given a generally accepted course until the Treaty of Täyssinä in 1595, when it was drawn along the established political boundary as far as the Arctic Ocean. The border changed several times as the result of later wars between Sweden and Russia.
Castles, towns and routes of communication have been important factors in the territorial and regional history of Finland. In addition to their defensive function, medieval castles were also important centres of administration and tax collection for the crown.
During the second half of the 18th century the defence of Finland was improved with the construction of new fortifications, the most important of which was the island fortress of Viapori (present-day Suomenlinna) off Helsinki.
New towns were particularly established and network of roads and highways was developed during Per Brahe's term as governor-general in the mid 17th century. National postal service was established in 1638.
Read more about The Historical Collections here
Figure of St. Martin from Raisio Church, by Master of Lieto 1320-30s.
Funerary coat of arms of Erik von der Linde 1666, from Parainen Church, South-Western Finland.
Gustavus Vasa (1496-1560) reigned 1523-1560, oil on canvas. A 17th c. copy by Cornelius Arendtz of a portrait from the 1540s.
Landing 201 The Rulers and the Four Estates
During the Middle Ages Finland had a relatively small nobility and the burghers had no established role. The clergy, or the spiritual estate, was the most important class.
The foundation of society consisted of the peasants and farmers, from among whom a major portion of burghers and clergy rose, and elements of nobility the emerged from the former peasant chieftain class. A growing part of the population, however, remained outside the system of classes.
Room 202 The Nobility - The Era of Dominion 17th century
The period of Sweden as a leading European power, from the reign of Gustavus II Adolphus in 1611 to the death of Charles XII in 1718, was also the era of the Baroque and the supremacy of the nobility. European influences adopted by officers in the Thirty Years' War in Germany in 1618 -1648 became evident in customs and dwellings.
Room 203 The Peasants
The vast majority, over 90 % of the population consisted of the common people: the peasants, the landless rural population, hired labourers and the craftsmen of the towns.
Many customs, practices and artefact types of the Middle Ages survived well into the 19th century in Finnish folk culture.
Room 204 The Clergy
During the years after the Reformation, most of Finland's parish priests were men without a university education, but requirements became stricter in the 17th century and the standard of education rose.
The interests of the clergy in the 18th century went beyond parish life to include economic matters and secular culture. The parsonage was a channel for education and innovations. During the 1720s the clergy also achieved the status of a separate estate.
Room 205 Rulers and Monarchs
Finland was regarded in Sweden as the eastern province of the realm, providing raw material for industry and agriculture and serving as a military reserve. Finland was a buffer between Sweden and Russia.
Although the kings of Sweden had also been the rulers of Finland for 650 years, they rarely visited Finland, the only exception being Gustavus III. Only Adolphus Frederick, Gustavus III and Gustavus IV Adolphus visited Finland in the 18th and 19th century on their traditional post-coronation tour of the realm.
Rooms 206-207 The Burghers - Merchant Burghers and Owners of Ironmills, Craftsmen
The burgher class or bourgeoisie emerged in the Middle Ages from among the craftsmen and artisans of the towns. The Estate of the Burghers was given official status in the constitution of 1634.
The gap between the high-ranking haute bourgeoisie and the craftsmen deepened in the 18th century, and by the end of the century the haute bourgeoisie had greater economic and political power than the nobility. The pre-industrial 19th century, however, was the great century of the burgher class.
The craftsmen or petty bourgeoise played an important role in the towns, which lacked a self-sufficient economy but had considerable purchasing power. Each professional group formed its own strictly defined guild. The guild system permitted those who remained outside the estates to rise socially, i.e. achieve the rank of master craftsman and thus join the Estate of the Burghers.
Room 208 Trade and Industry
The Finnish economy was regulated through official mercantilist policies until the beginning of the 19th century. The government sought to promote and improve domestic production by supporting exports and restricting imports. There was particular focus on developing industries. Trade was concentrated in the towns in order to permit the crown to control and tax private enterprise as much as possible.
Finland's first industrial facilities were founded in the 17th century to make iron products, paper and glass. Broadcloth, linen and sailcloth mills were established in the 18th century. Finland also had a tobacco factory and a sugar refinery. Almost half of all the glassworks active in the Swedish realm in the 18th century operated in Finland.
Room 209 The Drawing Room of Jakkarila Manor
Wall coverings with pastoral and hunting themes, tempera on canvas, painted by Johan Bromander of Stockholm ca. 1763. The interior, in the Rococo style, dates from the 1760s.
The drawing room at Jakkarila Manor originally had ceiling paintings, 11 different mural painting fields along with floral and fruit still-lifes above the doors and windows. The marble paintings flanking the windows were made at the National Museum in 1909 and they replicate the green marble imitation of the wall coverings.
The Jakkarila Manor main buiding is still an existing, privately owned farm, east of Porvoo.
Room 210 The Gentlemen's Room of Jakkarila Manor - "The Paradise"
The interior fixtures of the cabinet date from the 1760-1770s and come from Jakkarila Manor. The paintings of wall coverings on linen fabric present scenes of the manor and landscapes.
In the glass-walled cased behind the cabinet are wall coverings of painted fabric known as the "Paradise wall coverings" from the nursery ("Paradise") of Pekkala Manor in Ruovesi, Western Finland. Possibly painted by Thomas Kiempe ca. 1800.
Room 211 The Enlightenment 18th century
The period of enlightenment and political freedom of the latter half of the 18th century also marked economic and educational progress in Finland. The country's population trebled from roughly 300,000 in 1721 to ca. 900,000 in 1807.
Of particular importance for national self-esteem was the research concerning the Finnish people, their history and folk poetry that was pursued at the Academy (University) of Turku. The leading figure of these endeavours was Henrik Gabriel Porthan (1739-1804), Professor of Rhetoric (Latin) at the Academy. Porthan's influence on scholarship in Finland was so prominent that these years are even referred to as the Age of Porthan.
Room 212 Finland as Part of Russia - Romanticism and the Home 19th century
In 1809 the centuries-old ties between Finland and Sweden were severed when Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. In this new situation the country needed a vivid national spirit and a national culture based on it.
Their awakening and development were associated with the general romantic trend of the period. The rationalism of the Enlightenment was now contrasted by emotion and imagination. Romanticism found a fertile basis in literature and music.
Room 213 The Throne Room - Emperors and Civil Servants
Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon of France agreed on a division of Europe at Tilsit in 1807. Russia was given Finland as a reward for having forced Sweden to join the continental system intended to prevent trade with England.
War broke out between Sweden and Russia in 1808, and in the same year Alexander I of Russia issued a decree stating that Finland was joined for all eternity to the Russian Empire.
Read more about The Historical Collections here
Travel chest, 17th c.
Possibly owned by Johannes Gezelius the Elder (1615-1690), Bishop of Turku.
One-wood festive tankard from Hujala village, Rusko parish, South-Western Finland. Marked with the year 1542.
Tea chest of enamelled copper, made in Guangzhou (Canton) in 18th c. with Qianlong-style decoration.
Jakkarila drawing-room, 1760s.
Throne of the Emperor, brought to Finland in 1809. Gilded wood by Christian Meyer, St. Petersburg 1797.
Room 220 In Cabins without Chimneys
Beliefs, customs and types of artefacts passed on from one generation to another provide perspectives on the way of life and mentality of the Finns during the past centuries.
The oldest written information on the beliefs of the Finns tell of spells, customs and charms, and the gods to whom these means of influence were directed.
The use of spells, verbal formulae of magic effect, was based on the belief that supernatural forces were present everywhere in nature. All creatures, phenomena and objects contained an impersonal force. The wording of the spells represented a tradition thousands of years old.
Room 221 From the Fields and the Waters - Traditional Means of Livelihood
The burn-clearing of forest and slash-and-burn farming were practised since prehistoric times. Burn-cleared swiddens were still cultivated in Häme in the 17th century, and in Upper Satakunta in the 18th century. In Eastern Finland, Kainuu and parts of Central Finland, slash-and-burn agriculture was still the basis of all livelihood in the 19th century.
Enclosure, or the redivision of land, and finally the rise in the value of forest land in the 1860s and 1870s brought an end to slash-and-burn farming. The burning and subsequent cultivation of bog land, preceded by years of draining by laying ditches was practised in Southern Ostrobothnia in particular.
From the first decades of the 18th century, the main focus of agriculture was on arable and grain farming, where new methods and mechanization began to be introduced in the late 19th century.
Room 222 Life in the Land of the Sámi
The Sámi are an ethnic group defined as an indigenous people living in an area belonging to four different countries. The present Sámi population numbers 60,000-100,000 depending on census methods. Over 6,000 live in Finland.
Belonging to the Finno-Ugrian family of languages, the Sámi language is divided into nine different dialects. North Sámi is the official written language.
Rooms 223-224 The Finns - Folk Costumes, Textile Crafts
Fashion and attire have played an important role in demonstrating social status. For centuries personal dress was the distinguishing mark between persons of rank and the lower classes.
This way of thought was supported until the close of the 18th century with many official decrees on luxury items. Erik Sorolainen's postilla, or book of homilies, of 1625 underlined that "God does not forbid moderate dress in keeping with one's station and position, but God will not abide dressing beyond one's post and standing".
Class distinctions were still present in dress and costume in the late 19th century. According to the author Zacharias Topelius the indistinct boundary between the common people and the upper classes was marked by the respective use of frieze and broadcloth.
Room 225 Crafted by Hand for Admiring Eyes - Traditional Wood Carving
The most decorated wooden objects of folk handicraft were often gifts made by the groom for the bride. Popular gifts of this kind were distaffs, rolling boards and bobbin holders. Also women's tools and implements such as tortti distaffs, clothes beaters and rigid heddles were made for this purpose.
Objects of particular attention at engagement parties or weddings, such as engagement boxes or items oar were decorated prominently and painstakingly. The most impressive gifts were not meant for everyday use.
Room 226 Chest chairs and tableware cupboards - Folk Furniture
In the coastal regions of Western Finland and in the Åland Islands the chimneyless cabins had been replaced by well-lit dwellings at such an early stage that no memories of the cabins survive. As the standard of living improved and dwellings came to have windows and several rooms, the amount of furniture also increased.
The master craftsmen of the towns, the church-builders and the local carpenters and joiners passed on not only new types of furniture but also features of leading West European styles.
Read more about The Ethnological Collections here
Chimneyless smoke cabin c.1820s. From Pajasyrjä village, Jaakkima parish in Karelia.
Shepherd's knapsack and birch-bark horn, 19th c.
Woman's head-dress from Outakoski in Utsjoki, Lapland.
Suomi Finland 1900
New permanent exhibition on 20th century Finland and Finns.
Themes of the exhibition are daily life in Finland, cuisine, traffic, communication, as well as developments in politics and state. In what type of circumstances did Finns from different parts of Finland live and how was their daily life? At the exhibition visitors can sit down in a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle and experience flashes from travel and traffic in the 60's.
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Pappa-Tunturi moped 1977.
Jukebox AMI JHJ 200 from year 1958.
Workshop VINTTI - Easy History is an interactive Hands-on exhibition, where visitors can study the history of Finland and its culture using their hands and heads.
Open Tue-Sun 12 - 4 p.m.
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In VINTTI you can also harness a horse for riding or pulling a cart.