91. Natural History Museum of Helsinki

Believe it or not I had been feeling a little museum-ed out by the time I got to this one and I debated whether or not to pay for yet another Natural History Museum (particularly after the let down in Stockholm), but the building was really pretty and I was all swept up in the magical anticipation of learning new things!

There was a great deal of variety moving through the various exhibits, many of which weaved through small rooms, up and down stairs, on a constant adventure from pre-history to where I learned of Finland’s Russian ownership and influence, as discovered by my architectural observations. One of the most striking pieces of artwork (in my opinion) was a painting depicting Finland trying to protect herself against the fierce, predatory eagle that was Russia, attempting to change Finland’s laws.

One of the newer (and I believe temporary) exhibits featured a collection of dollhouses throughout time. These dollhouses were original models of houses (and their furnishings) of various times, but the more recent ones were specially made dollhouses, where a range of different people from the homeless, 18 year olds who recently left home to children, had been asked to depict their dream homes. When I read this, I was expecting some kind of political statement or interesting conclusion whereby the homeless people were saying their dream home was just a roof over their heads. However, they all seemed to conform to dollhouse-y stereotypes and look pretty similar. It was quite difficult to pick differences between most of them. With the assumptions I had initially made it became obvious to me that a good dose of adventure away from NZ’s PC culture is probably just what the doctor ordered.

As I reached the exhibit on objects more specific to Finnish culture, I was fascinated by the many beautiful spinning needle creations on display. As it turned out they were decorative only, and men commonly crafted them to give as gifts to their fiancee. When I read that I thought to myself how I would react if given a decorated household appliance that reaffirmed my place in the home as a pre-wedding gift. I mean, if my fiancee gave me a hand painted Miele vacuum cleaner I honestly wouldn’t know what to say. The effort is sweet and they are really good vacuum cleaners, but any man with half a brain knows giving a woman an appliance as a significant gift is a sure-fire way to get a kick in the balls so hard they’ll never have to worry about discussing family planning.

On that reversion back to aforementioned PC thoughts and feminist debates, I will end with a picture of the most fabulous ‘grandfather’ clock I have ever seen.

And as an added bonus, a few more photos.