The National Museum of Finland
Travel in Finland

History Museum: The National Museum of Finland

17/08/2022

Are you interested in the history of Finland?
Then the National Museum of Finland is just the place for you!

And by the way, even if you are not a history fan, don’t skip this one just yet. I’ll promise you that visit to the National Museum of Finland might turn out to be surprisingly interesting.

The National Museum of Finland

The National Museum contains the oldest and most comprehensive cultural history collections in the country. So we could easily rename it as the national history museum of Finland!

But the National Museum is more than just a boring history museum. It is a national cultural history museum. It means that the museum has a lot more to offer than just the Finnish history. Instead it tells the story of Finland.

Museum’s permanent exhibitions reveal the story of Finland starting from the prehistory times all the way to modern days. Experience the history through fascinating stories and a collection of artefacts. Study ancient mysteries, discover when the area of Finland was settled, and where the people might have come from? Or you can find out how Finland became Finland and what have happened during Finland’s first 100 years as an independent country.

And with a collection of about half a million objects, there is a lot to see here. The collection includes interesting artefacts, which might not all be valuable alone, but are important to Finns. These include rare findings from the ancient water burial site, a ballot box from the first election, and a suitcase of a little refugee girl who had to leave her home in Karelia during the Second World War.

Intriguing Example of Finnish Architecture

Fun thing about visiting the National Museum is that the museum building itself is a kind of an exhibition of its own. Having an excellent location along the Helsinki’s main street, the building is hard to miss. But what is it? Is it a castle? Or perhaps a church? No, the building in fact was designed as a museum from the start, although the museum was known by a different name at the time.

The predecessor of the National Museum was a State Historical Museum. It was founded in 1893 when several older collections were combined and placed in the care of the state. When Finland became independent, it was renamed as the National Museum of Finland.

The museum building was designed by Finnish architects Eliel Saarinen, Herman Gesellius and Armas Lindgren in 1902, and it is an excellent example of Finnish architecture. With its granite facade and steatite decoration, the National Museum is one of Finland’s most significant national-romantic works of architecture. The construction was completed in 1910 and the museum opened to the public in 1916.

In addition to the permanent exhibitions, the National Museum of Finland also has temporary exhibitions, short-term pop-up exhibitions and events as well as themed tours and workshops.

Have I already convinced you that the National Museum is a bit of a must-visit in Helsinki?
If so, check the opening hours at National Museum’s website.

Address:
The National Museum of Finland
Mannerheimintie 34
00100 Helsinki
Finland

Sources:
Finnish Heritage Agency
Photographer Soile Tirilä. Image by The National Museum of Finland