A house full of knowledge,
emotions and traditions!
Museokatu 3, 65100 Vaasa | Tel. +358 6 325 3800
Open Tue–Sun 10–17, Mondays closed.
Admission fees 7/5 €, under 18s free of charge.
THE HISTORY OF THE OSTROBOTHNIAN MUSEUM
The first museums in Finland were established at the end of the 19th century, as part of the national awakening. In Vaasa, it was Ostrobothnia’s Historical Museum Association which led the local initiative to “arouse and nourish interest in national heritage and the cultivation of national feeling within all social classes”. The association’s goal was to collect artefacts and written material from Ostrobothnia, partly for the benefit of scientific research and partly with a view to paving the way for a permanent museum exhibition. The collected items were mainly archaeological finds, ecclesiastical objects, books and writings, coins and medallions, costumes, furniture and household utensils, as well as items related to war. The first temporary exhibition opened in 1896.
Professor Karl Hedman’s name is intimately linked to the establishment of the museum in Vaasa. Hedman was a doctor by profession, but he was also a dedicated collector of art and antiques. It was he who laid down the guidelines for the work of the museum after becoming a member of the museum board in 1899; he also shouldered a considerable amount of practical responsibility. Thanks to his enthusiasm and dedication, both his own collections and the museum collections were expanded with valuable historical artefacts and works of art. Shortly before his death in 1931, he and his wife Elin Hedman established The Hedman Foundation for the management of their estate. Today, the Hedman collections are the property of the City of Vaasa.
The original intention of the museum was to document Finnish culture within a larger geographic area and to increase cultural awareness. When museums began to be professionally run after the war, the staff at the Ostrobothnian Museum increased, and the museum was divided into a department of cultural history and a department of art. After the museum was appointed as a provincial museum in 1981 and a regional art museum in 1983, its area of responsibility in the region continued to expand, with doctoral researchers active in the fields of cultural history, archaeology, building research and art.
The museum was run by the museum association up until 1990, when the City of Vaasa officially took over the responsibility for the running of the museum, its collections and personnel. A board of management was appointed for the administration of the museum, replacing the museum association board. In 1990, the museum was also expanded to include a department of natural science, which today is operated in collaboration with the Ostrobothnia Australis Association and the Finnish Forest and Park Service, Metsähallitus.
For many years the Museum of Ostrobothnia had temporary exhibition premises at various locations around the city. Then, in 1921, the city authorities decided to have a new museum building erected in Marianpuisto park. The new building, which was designed by architect Eino Forsman, was officially opened in June 1930. In 1967, a new exhibition wing was added, designed by Erik Kråkström. In the old museum building, there are three permanent exhibitions corresponding to the museum’s three main areas of focus: The Hedman Floor with its art and period interiors, antiques and works of art; the Vaasa 400 city history exhibition; and the Terranova exhibition which informs the visitor about the rising land and the natural environment in the Kvarken region. Between three and five temporary exhibitions are held annually in the new museum wing.
Further information about Ostrobothnia’s Historical Museum Association, Karl Hedman, The Hedman Foundation, the Ostrobothnia Australis Association and the Finnish Forest and Park Service Metsähallitus can be found via Museum collaborators.