15 Helsinki Museums and Exhibitions to Learn History and Art

15 Helsinki Museums and Exhibitions to Learn History and Art


15 Helsinki Museums to Visit for Art, History or Exhibitions

This Helsinki Museums list is an extension on my previous post – 20 things to do in Helsinki. I have removed the Helsinki museums out from the post. Apart from the typical sightseeing, some people are only interested in visiting museums when they travel and have not much interest to do other things. Moreover, I have some friends who attest to this presumption.

As Helsinki is quite a compact city where you can visit many attractions by foot, most popular Helsinki museums are also within walking distance. On some days of the month, all Helsinki Museums have certain days with exceptional opening hours. You are advised to double-check first before visiting any of them.


1. Helsinki City Museum

~ Helsingin Kaupunginmuseo ~

Helsinki City Museum is FREE entry and deserves to be the first on the list because it has another 3 more FREE museums in Helsinki out of four under its wing. If you want to know everything about the captivating capital of Finland, the Helsinki City Museum is the right place to visit. Walk the life and experiences in Helsinki with a collection of 450,000 objects and one million photographs through the historical transition of time.

The museum also has a children’s corner and interactive activities for kids. Therefore, it would be a lot of fun for the family. It also provides an incredible view for taking a picture of the Helsinki Cathedral. The Helsinki City Museum is at the end of the Aleksanterinkatu Shopping Street, situated in the oldest blocks of the city near the Senate Square.

⦿ ADMISSION FEE: The only museum that is always free entry! Apart from Helsinki City Museum, the organisation has 4 more museums in Helsinki under its wing. Three of them are free entry.

⦿ GUIDED TOUR: There are free and paid guided tours which you have to check on their website. Helsinki City Museum also has walking tours for 75 minutes, but they are not free.

⦿ OPERATING HOURS » Exceptional Opening Hours

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
11am – 7pm 11am – 7pm 11am – 7pm 11am – 7pm 11am – 7pm 11am – 5pm 11am – 5pm

TIP: Monday is the best time to visit the Helsinki City Museum because most museums are closed on Monday.


2. The National Museum of Finland

~ Kansallismuseo ~

The National Museum of Finland in Helsinki is 10 minutes away from Rock Church. It is one of Finland’s most significant national-romantic works of architecture. The style was part of the National Romantic movement during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Its outstanding Nordic architectural design is often considered to be a form of Art Nouveau. The National Museum of Finland opened its door to the public in 1916. The renovation from 1997 to 2000 distinguished its latest architectural interior from the exterior built with granite façade and steatite decoration.

⦿ ADMISSION FEE: €14 for adults and free for those under 18. Visitors may have to pay a separate fee for special exhibitions.

⦿ FREE ADMISSION: Every Friday 4 pm – 6 pm. Also free admission to the dates below:

  • 18 May 2020: International Museum Day
  • 12 Jun 2020: Helsinki Day

⦿ GUIDED TOUR: There are several free guided tours in English which you can pick and choose. There are also paid guided tours which you have to book in advance.

⦿ OPERATING HOURS » Exceptional Opening Hours

  • 1 May to 31 August
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 8pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm
  • 1 September to 31 December
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Close 11am – 6pm 11am – 8pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm


3. Helsinki Art Museum (HAM)

HAM Helsinki Art Museum

If you are a lover of visual art, you will appreciate the Helsinki Art Museum (HAM) which showcases over 9,000 art collection in modern and contemporary arts. The focus is on the everyday life of the Helsinkians. There are displays of almost half the works in public areas such as parks, streets, offices, health centres, schools and libraries. The remaining art collection is in Tennispalatsiin (Tennis Palace). HAM also offers free WiFi within its premises.

⦿ ADMISSION FEE: €12 and free for those under 18

⦿ FREE ADMISSION: You can visit HAM for free on the last Friday of every month. There are also free admissions to the exhibitions on some days.

  • 10 May 2020: Mother’s Day
  • 18 May 2020: International Museum Day
  • 12 Jun 2020: Helsinki Day
  • 20 Aug 2020: Night of the Arts

⦿ GUIDED TOUR: On Saturdays in English for all ages

⦿ OPERATING HOURS » Exceptional Opening Hours

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Close 11am – 7pm 11am – 7pm 11am – 7pm 11am – 7pm 11am – 7pm 11am – 7pm


4. Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

~ Nykytaiteen Museo Kiasma ~

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

Park near Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

Kiasma Museum on the Right of Park

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma is a wing of the Finnish National Gallery which educates the public on contemporary art. This five-level building introduces a new perspective on life and experiences through arts and events. The Kiasma Museum was designed by Steven Holl, an American Architect and opened to the public in 1998.

The building concept works based on the diffusion of light. There is WiFi access under “Kiasma Free” on top of stores and cafes inside the Kiasma Museum. Another noteworthy attraction beside the Kiasma Museum is the Makasiinipuisto City Park which has a landscape that looks like a magnified version of a jigsaw puzzle. It is undoubtedly one of my favourite Helsinki sightseeing points.

⦿ ADMISSION TICKET: €15 and free for those under 18

⦿ FREE ADMISSION: 1st Friday of every month

⦿ GUIDED TOUR: Available in 4 languages

  • English: on 1st Saturday of each month at 2 pm
  • Swedish: on 1st Saturday of each month at 1 pm
  • Russian: on 1st Saturday of each month at 3 pm
  • Finnish: every Friday at 6 pm

⦿ OPERATING HOURS » Exceptional Opening Hours

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Close 10am – 6pm 10am – 8.30pm 10am – 8.30pm 10am – 8.30pm 10am – 6pm 10am – 5pm


5. Ateneum Art Museum

Ateneum Art Museum is perpendicular to the Helsinki Railway Station which one cannot miss. You can visit it immediately and save some time upon arrival from Helsinki Airport to the city. It is also under the umbrella of Finnish National Gallery featuring classical art painting predominantly by famous Finnish painters.

It has an accumulation of the largest and oldest art collection in Finland backdated to the 18th century to the present day. To date, it has more than 4,300 paintings and over 750 sculptures. Ateneum Art Museum was also the first museum in the world to own a Vincent van Gogh’s Street in Auvers-sur-Oise (1890) in 1903.

⦿ ADMISSION FEE: €17 and free for those under 18

⦿ GUIDED TOUR: Free with the entrance fee or with a Museum Card. Duration is approximately one hour. Advance registration is not required.

  • English: on Saturday on Even-numbered weeks at 12 pm
  • Swedish: on 1st Sunday of the month at 1 pm
  • Russian: on 2nd Sunday of the month at 1 pm
  • Finnish: on Saturdays at 1 pm

⦿ OPERATING HOURS » Exceptional Opening Hours

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Close 10am – 6pm 10am – 8pm 10am – 8pm 10am – 6pm 10am – 5pm 10am – 5pm


6. Design Museum Helsinki

~ Designmuseo ~
Design Museum Helsinki

Credit: Ralf Roletschek / Wikimedia Commons

Design Museum Helsinki with a neo-Gothic style is more than 140 years old. It is also one of the oldest museums in the world with a collection of over 75,000 objects, 45,000 drawings and 125,000 photographs. The original collection by the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design backdate to 1873. The Design Museum also exhibits its collection worldwide.

Before or after visiting the Helsinki museum, you can visit the well-known Market Square, which is 10 to 20 minutes walk from the harbour. The famous market is open daily from Monday to Saturday and on Sunday during the summer. An ideal combination of culture and food together to stimulate your mind and stomach.

⦿ ADMISSION FEE: €12 for adult and €6 for students

⦿ FREE ADMISSION: Last Tuesday of every month from 5 pm to 8 pm

⦿ GUIDED TOUR: Available in 4 languages – English, Swedish, Swedish and Finnish. It is conducted once per month on specific dates for 3 languages except for Finnish which the guided tour is every Tuesday at 5 pm and Saturday at 4 pm.

⦿ OPERATING HOURS » Exceptional Opening Hours + All Other Details

  • 1 June to 31 August
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm
  • 1 September to 31 May
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Close 11am – 8pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm 11am – 6pm


7. Suomenlinna Museum

Last Finnish Submarine Vesikko

Last Finnish Submarine Vesikko

Suomenlinna Island is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site and its history of construction dated back in the mid-18th century when Finland was still part of Sweden. There are 6 museums in the historical island. Suomenlinna Museum, being the main one, is at the Suomenlinna Centre and opened throughout the year. A 25-minute short film available in 9 languages is screened at every half an hour interval in the auditorium.

The permanent exhibition showcasing its 260 years of history with relics discovered from the olden times demonstrated events encompassing the lives of people and the fortress. You have to take a 15-minute water transport to get to Suomenlinna. During the cold winter season, you can experience the journey through the ice-covered water. It is truly marvellous to spend a whole day museum hopping at Suomenlinna Island.

⦿ ADMISSION FEE: Here are the costs to all 6 museums on Suomenlinna island for adults, students and children between 7 to 17 years old. Free entry for those under 7 years old.

(Adults / Students / Children between 7 to 17 years)

⦿ FREE ADMISSION: No entrance fee to visit the Suomenlinna Fortress

⦿ GUIDED TOUR: Walk around the fortress – €11 for adults and €4 for children purchased at Suomenlinna Museum or online

  • Summer Months (1 Jun – 31 Aug): Available in English, Swedish, Russian, Chinese and Finnish
  • Winter Months (1 Sep – 30 May): Available in English and Russian only on weekends

⦿ OPERATING HOURS » Exceptional Opening Hours

  • 2 May to 30 September
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
10am – 6pm 10am – 6pm 10am – 6pm 10am – 6pm 10am – 6pm 10am – 6pm 10am – 6pm
  • 1 October to 30 April
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
10.30am – 4.30pm 10.30am – 4.30pm 10.30am – 4.30pm 10.30am – 4.30pm 10.30am – 4.30pm 10.30am – 4.30pm 10.30am – 4.30pm
Conclusion

With so many choices of museums in Helsinki free or paid, there is definitely one that interest you. Check out my post on what to do in Helsinki and sightseeing attractions which you must not miss. Or perhaps, an article on the transport options to get from Helsinki Airport to City Centre.

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