One of the best thing about Museokortti – aside from flashing it at cashiers at museums and feeling really smug and cool about it – is the fact that it kind of motivates you to visit places which you would otherwise ignore or overlook at best. There is a museum in every other small town (urr… “town”) in Finland, but honestly who goes there? Surely, people travel to get to some museums, such as Aalto’s architecture wonders or monuments related to Sibelius, but how big is the target group for Museum of Welding in the middle of nowhere? And if you happen to be around, would you actually PAYto go there, especially if you are a Finn? Don’t think so, you’d rather spend it on a nice cold beer and enjoy it outside the museum.
Well. Exactly. So I succumbed to the temptation of exploring half-forgotten museums and responded to what we believe is a true marketing potential of Museokortti for small museums and started planning my 2016 Finland trips to friends&family around the museums on The List. I looked up where the towns/municipalities are located, cluster them, checked out which ones are open in summer only – well there is a lot of mindless research involved (for those days I actually don’t have time for mindless research: anyone want to design a nice app based on an interactive smart-phone-friendly map of all museums?), and I can’t wait to hit the road…
… but this time I really enjoyed the planning. Friday excursions did not go as planned. First, I lost all of my camera pics due to some stupid cart formatting issue, and then I underestimated the weather and froze. Fast forward some hours, here I am, feverish, fluish, coldish and substantially pissed off since I cannot do anything (of value).
Now back to the topic:
First I visited Helsinki Observatory (under University of Helsinki). One of those places I always wanted to visit “just because”, and maybe because I’m a closet astronomy fan, and maybe because the location in the middle of Kaivopuisto (park) as well as the building itself is pretty classy.
Unless you are unlucky enough to share the museum with the lonely scientist or a school group, prepare to feel a bit lonely in the museum. Permanent exhibition is a bit out of balance: old astronomy tools and clocks and this and that and a number of Do not touch signs on one hand, and This-is-solar-system-kids interactive bit on the other one, and it is all spiced with the temporary exhibition: currently it is LEGO in Space. Sounds like a good idea, but in fact it was just 2 glass cabinets with LEGO sets from the 1970s onwards. Very brief and disappointing. In fact, despite the obvious efforts to make the whole concept of the museum more interactive, interesting, etc., it still needs to be worked on. Better balanced out. More outreaching. Having said that, it served well as an introductory visit to the observatory, and it was not my last. And because I lost all my pics, I cannot show you how pretty the main reception area of the observatory building is.
Two of the most representative exhibits at the Observatory: star gazer couchette and a LEGO model of Tin Tin’s space rocket.
I then proceeded to Galleria Katariina, an unplanned stop at one of numerous Helsinki gallery spaces (read: ex-shop/office areas converted into post-modern-art sanctuaries). And it was a very very pleasant surprise: first, the museum attendant left me alone. Second, the exhibition – Hanneriina Moisseinen’s comic strip about evacuation of animals as well as people from Karelia after WW2 – was awesome. Yeah, I know, Karelia once again, but do pay a visit there even if you don’t really care (and speak Finnish), the strip is very interesting. And third, I learned that there is a workshop behind the gallery, so those interested in hands-on art education, do check out Katariina’s website. Oh and visiting this gallery space is FREE of charge, so you can give your Museokortti a break.
Hanneriina Moisseinen: Hyvät kuuntelijat
My final destination, or my primary destination to be fair, was Amos Anderson’s Museum and the exhibition Helsinki Noir. That was quite an usual concept of an exhibition: in order to navigate through the rooms ones has to read a short story (a cute book in three languages which you will get free of charge at the museum, and which I chucked into the recycling rubbish earlier on today, sorry). The plot of this red thread connecting the rooms presenting urban life in Helsinki in 1930s-1950s was, in fact, a short crime novel. Or a colleciton of memories of a policeman who one day found a body of a young woman just off Kaivoupuisto. The point is to walk through the rooms, sometimes stop for five minutes and stare into a book – that’s quite nice for a change, to see people staring into books and not into their smart-screens, and apparently collect hints in order to solve the crime and find out who murdered that miserable woman. It was of course not the most elaborate and blooming piece of literature but it was catchy, and the story did escalate somehow.
Now this is one of my blond moments and I’m not proud of it, but it actually was not all that clear who the murderer was. And it is even less clear to those who don’t speak any English. I mean I obviously have an idea, but it never gets confirmed – or did I miss anything?
With a bit of anti-climax mood I then explored the rest of the museum. Well. No matter why you make it to this museum, do start from the top floor (and take the oldskool lift to there. One can never get enough of early 20th century Finnish lifts) and make you way to the exhibition area(s). The private rooms of Anderson are pretty interesting, and even so more his private chapel in one of the floors – I know, whaaat, why, random.
I’m too cool to take pictures of the exhibits. So I only took a few snaps of the premises which fit the Nordic Noir 1930s theme so well! I did feel like a spy from the movies for a moment or two in there.