Gallen-Kallela Museum turns 60!

Atelier of Tarvaspää 12.05.1961. Photo: Erkki Voutilainen, The Finnish Heritage Association, Journalistic Photo Achives.

Opening of the Museum

The museum first opened its doors to public 60 years ago on the 16th of May in 1961. Artist’s daughter Kirsti reminisces the opening day in her letter to her father’s old friend Louis Sparre:

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There has been a steady flow of visitors after the opening, and we have a canteen at the loggia of atelier building where coffee and other beverages are served. In the garden there are tables and chairs, sun and flowers, roses growing in flowerbeds adjacent to the loggia wall and pelargoniums at barrels cut in half. At the opening there were flags up at four flagpoles –  I get tears in my eyes when I think all of this.

Kirsti Gallen-Kallela’s undated letter to Louis Sparre, private archives.

Museum’s anniversary in 2021

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In 2021 museum celebrates its 60th anniversary by publishing its art collection at Finna (Finnish search service for libraries, museums, and other organisations), and by publishing content about collections, museum staff and past exhibitions and events on Instagram. On the official opening day of the museum on the 16th of May we will hold a celebratory concert if the Covid-19 situation allows it.

Time Machines and Utopias

This year’s main exhibition Time Machines and Utopias was awarded a Musevisio grant by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The aim of the exhibition and museum education project is to explore the ways in which ways museums can act as facilitators in the societal turning points. In the year 2021 Gallen-Kallela Museum, the home of Aino and Jeans Sibelius; Ainola and Emil Wikström’s atelier Visavuori turn into time machines that bring the past experiences and the possibilities of the future to current debates about climate change and sustainability.

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The biography of Mary Gallén

In autumn 2021, the biography of Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s spouse Mary Gallen (née Slöör) written by Helena Ruuska will be published by the WSOY publishing company. Mary Gallén was a pianist who was also known as her husband’s model and supporter. Book is based on letters and archive materials. After the book is published Helena Ruuska will be holding lectures at the museum about the biography. The book and lectures are only available in Finnish.

New visions

Gallen-Kallela Museum will continue to develop its practises towards becoming socially, culturally, and economically sustainable museum. The beautiful surroundings of the museum offer a green oasis for our visitors. During the spring 2021 we will launch a mobile app called Akselin Askelissa that will provide more information about the museum and Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s life and his family for the visitors coming to Tarvaspää outside opening hours of the museum. App will be available in Finnish only.

The ecological point of view and practices come naturally to us – For Akseli Gallen-Kallela nature was holy and central to all of his artistic activities.

Museum Director Tuija Wahlroos, 2021.

Museum shop in 2021

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Museum shop will launch a new museum shop concept ‘Mary´s Boutique’ with new product families ‘Mary’ and ‘Kalevala’. The new product families will highlight the art of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, his family’s devotion to nature, crafts, and Kalevala.

Gallen-Kallela Museum wants to thank all its visitors and supporters who have accompanied us on this wonderful journey!

Photo credits:

All black and white photos: Erkki Vuotila, 1961, The Finnish Heritage Agency, Journalistic Photo archives.

Images from the top: 1. Kirsti Gallen-Kallela at the gallery of Tarvaspää, 1961. 2. The opening of the Gallen-Kallela Museum in May 1961. Gallen-Kallela’s Museum is introduced to the press by Mrs. Kirsti Gallen-Kallela Väisänen and Pirkko and Aivi Gallen-Kallela-Sirén. 3. Museum building photographed from the direction of Villa Linudd, 12.5.1961.

Gallen-Kallela Museum 60 years logo designed by Jarkko Mäki-Kojola.