Sibelius goes Haltia and calls at Villa Gyllenberg.

He does not really, I did – within a span of a few weeks I visited Sibelius Museum in Turku during one of my brief stays in there, last week we went to a lovely concert free of charge (with a valid museum ticket or Museokortti) at Villa Gyllenberg – and yesterday I paid Haltia Nature Centre a quick visit, too. These museums have pretty much nothing in common but I feel that I would not be able to squeeze out a decent post for each of them on their own.

So, first things first: Sibelius Museum – don’t get trick by the name, you will of course learn about Sibelius’ life and works, but this museum is primarily devoted to music in general. The exhibit includes around 2 000 instruments from all around the world. And there is an awesome archive downstairs, with creepy corners and alike. And a whole room devoted to organs (as in the musical instruments, not body parts. Huh-huh.). A few lonely visitors aside I was pretty much the only visitor there, and that was pretty nice. If I was not ashamed enough I would definitely try out some of the instruments (it is allowed!), but for the sake of the fellow visitors, the museum staff and the humanity in general I did not.

I have to admit I would actually have appreciated more guidance on how music is produced using the exhibited instruments, in particular the organs… ah well, there is always Wikipedia.

My final verdict is quite easy: do you like music? Go. Would you like to see a collection of objects related to Sibelius, learn (once again) about his music and you have no time to get to Hämeenlinna? Go. If you answered No to one more of the questions, well, go, but don’t expect to be overly thrilled.


The downstaris of the Sibelius Museum.

Now, Villa Gyllenberg round 2. This might sound really silly but we missed out on most of the exhibition part again due to poor time planning. We only just made it to the beginning of the concert by Folke Gräsbeck (piano) Linda Hedlund (violin) playing Busoni and Sibelius and it was simply great. AND! There are more concerts to come, so behold, Museokortti-holders, and check out the concert programme for this spring here!

And as for Haltia – The Finnish Nature Centre in Nuuksio: come to Nuuksio nevertheless. It is a balm for your soul nevermind the weather: if the weather is fine, take a hike of pretty much any length and have a great time, feel your blood-pressure sink and breathe in true Finland. Should the weather be a bit bad, take a walk anyways and smell the wood and walk at least to the lake. And in case you don’t feel outdoorsy at all, visit the museum: it is as close to the nature awaiting you outside the building as it gets.

I’d probably not pay for the museum ticket – simply because I’m not in a target group. I’m neither a school pupil or a family with children under 10 years of age. Haltia is simply yet another educational establishment concentrating knowledge about wild life and outdoor lifestyle in Finland, and to be fair it is a good educational establishment. Interactive, supporting a dialogue with the general public and enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

The architecture and the interior were really beautiful!

There are a number of little funny things inconspicuously hiding among “ordinary” exhibit. Like the super funny video about bear/bird watching (I mean me and bird watching?) – I absolutely loved it. Or the random exhibit of rabbits going o-oh at the sight of a bird of prey. Or the warm greetings on the guest wall (kuusi palaa, oh yes). Or the different kinds of dropping. Or the surrealistic exhibit picturing the birth of Finland – yeah, that’s the thing with two swans playing chess with nucleobases. It was lovely.

Haltia also serves as a conference or event venue, there is a decent lecture theatre with an impressive screen (think an average cinema – actually we were shown this beautiful time-lapse video about Finland by Riku Karjalainen) and a really, really good restaurant (although if you are seated on the terrace the chairs are supernoisy;). Come and see for yourself!


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