In home museums there is a different, intimate atmosphere which differs from the average minimalist exhibition spaces.
People have actually lived in these houses! In these places your imagination starts to fly. How often did the Didrichsen family swim at the seaside of their beautiful home? Who used to sit in which chair and who bought all the books and items? In Tamminiemi I follow the ghosts of the presidents that my mind creates – especially that of Urho Kekkonen. I picture him having a conversation with Nikita Khrushchev or Leonid Brezhnev. I picture him writing his famous letters, his forehead creased or chatting with his wife. In Alvar Aalto’s home, some tourists even tried climbing over the stone fence which surrounded his backyard as the artist couple lay there naked. I wonder what the Aaltos thought about that?
All this and what ever comes to your mind can be imagined in these interesting museums.
1. The Didrichsen Art Museum
LOCATION: Kuusilahdenkuja 1, 00340 Helsinki (open tu-su 11-18)
This gorgeus house designed by Viljo Revell looks like a really elegant home which has frozen in time since 50-60 years ago. One can sit on the sofa, watching the beautiful seaside from the windows or examine the bookshelves full of books.
The same house also serves as an art museum that houses high-class art exhibitions. The exhibitions are mainly located in the separate wing of the house. In the permanent exhibition, there is both Finnish and international art to be found as well as collections from the South-American and Asian great civilizations.
Just the location in Kuusisaari offers you a look to a totally different Helsinki. Not everyone can afford to live in a villa in Kuusisaari, but you can always visit the Didrichsen.
2. Tamminiemi/Urho Kekkonen museum
LOCATION: Seurasaarentie 15, 00250 HELSINKI, (open on winter weekends 11-17, at summer we-su 11-17) Take a guided tour – it will be worth it!
Tamminiemi, the place that has been a home for many presidents is too impractical according to the younger generations. So luckily it was closed after Kekkonen left.
Now the residency of Ryti, Mannerheim and Kekkonen is open for public audiences. One can go there and sense the past atmosphere of the world and listen to Cold War reflections. Tamminiemi is still well known especially as the home of president Kekkonen and the centre of the political debates during his time.
Tamminiemi is still in its 1970s outfit and full of interesting things to investigate. For example the special telephone in the workroom gets your imagination flying and thinking: What could have been negotiated via this phone.
The sauna on the property was not open, when I was there. It would be interesting to see the little building at least from outside. It may be the most famous sauna in the world, where Finnish and international politicians and leaders came to sauna. Kekkonen loved the sauna, maybe the negotiations had a good result because of the warm heat in the sauna.
3. Villa Aalto and Studio Aalto
LOCATION: Riihitie 20, 00330 Helsinki (You can only visit the museum by joining a guided tour; make a reservation in advance! The tours start at 13, 14 ja 15 o’clock, in summer time there are more tours per day)
Alvar Aalto´s home in Munkkiniemi was both home and studio even though Aalto had a separate studio built nearby. You can visit the latter as well. However, Aalto kept working in his home studio even after the new studio was completed.
This museum encompasses the Aalto’s vision of architecture and design.
One would probably say that the house represents functionalism. As I’m not an architecture expert, I’m not sure about the style of the house, but what I can say is, that it is beautiful. Aalto designed both the house and the interior design and to a Finn the design of the place feels very familiar, very Finnish.
Authos ja photos: Kristiina