Helsinki’s museums are charming and versatile, as the city itself. They can come in the shape of an imposing sea fortress or a graceful mansion. They can be open-air and overpopulated with fearless squirrels or hidden inside a century-old tram depot. They can be kids-friendly or… even more kids-friendly. I personally find the process of museum-going completely irresistible, which probably explains why I keep museum tickets as bookmarks and museum free admission days – as default memory setting. Because no matter who you are: a hardcore museumgoer whose spiritual chakras open only within exhibition spaces or the first-timer dragged in by curiosity and heavy rain – why not to save a little extra and spend it later on a cup of coffee with a Finnish cinnamon roll? Long story short: here is Helsinki museum free admissions guide for 2016.
Helsinki City Museum (Helsingin kaupunginmuseo)
Helsinki City Museum is a bit of a city secret that you just need to discover. Even with such an official status and central locations (there are five museums in one) it remains homey and personal. All five buildings are united by the same inspiring free entry policy, but each has its own twist and presents Helsinki through different retro lenses. Two museums are currently under reconstruction but feel free (literally) to visit Hakasalmi Villa, Worker Housing museum and Tram museum – it is a different kind of date with the city. Just to make it even more tempting, Korjaamo Culture Factory, where the last museum is located, serves art, food and bubbly atmosphere all year round.
Hakasalmi Villa, Mannerheimintie 13b; Worker Housing Museum, Kristinkuja 4; Tram Museum, Töölönkatu 51a, http://www.helsinginkaupunginmuseo.fi/en/
The Design Museum of Helsinki (Designmuseo)
Free admission on the last Tuesday of the month from 5pm to 8pm.
Regular price: 10/8/5€
Why to visit?
Here is a simple manual: come here after you walked the streets of the Design District Helsinki, checked most of the window displays downtown and picked at each and every Moomin-related object. This museum is the best place to brush up all the impressions. Finally, all those “made in Finland” stripy dresses, caramel-bright candleholders and curvy functional chairs will line up in front of you in chronological order and you can consider the design jigsaw puzzle complete. Some of the gems are available for take-away in The Design Museum shop.
Design Museum, Korkeavuorenkatu 23, http://www.designmuseum.fi/en/
Sinebrychoff Art Museum (Sinebrychoffin Taidemuseo)
Free admission on the first Wednesday of the month from 5pm to 8pm. The admission to the 2nd floor of the museum – the admirable collection of Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff – is free everyday, from Tuesday to Sunday.
Regular price: 12/10€
Why to visit?
The second floor is undoubtedly the crème de la crème of the museum, where Dutch, Italian and French masters in gilded frames share the space with decorative sphinxes and griffins. This elegant time machine snatches you away from Helsinki, where contemporary art and functional furniture rule the day, straight to the times of the Renaissance and the First French Empire. Later, to shake off the time travelling illusion you can sledge in the lovely Sinebrychoff park (winter) or treat yourself with the most precious northern sunshine and a cup of coffee in the South Park café terrace (summer).
Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Bulevardi 40, http://www.sinebrychoffintaidemuseo.fi/en/
The Finnish Museum of Photography (Suomen Valokuvataiteenmuseo)
Free admission on the last Wednesday of the month from 5pm to 8pm.
Regular price: 8/5€
Why to visit?
First of all, it is the only museum in Finland that specializes in photographic culture and boasts to have a particularly strong accent on Finnish photography. On the top of the great temporary exhibitions, it offers hazy retro portraits, soul-stirring city sketches, bold and nostalgic fashion snapshots. Even the innocent example of the photojournalistic forgery from the 60s: Elvis Presley cut and pasted into the streets of Helsinki. Cute. Secondly, the museum is located in one of the most hip places of Helsinki – the Cable Factory (Kaapelitehdas). Worth stepping out of your comfort zone and getting on a tram.
Finnish Museum of Photography, Tallberginkatu 1, http://www.valokuvataiteenmuseo.fi/en
Museum of Technology (Tekniikan museo)
Free admission every Thursday from 9am to 7pm but, at the moment, the museum has a free entry everyday from Tuesday to Sunday.
Why to visit?
All that industrial jazz – the first Finnish computer, operating traction elevator, model of a mining shaft and an electrical power station – you can find on the city island with the, arguably, longest name – Kuninkaankartanonsaari. But don’t let the perspective of 20 minutes bus ride put you off – the location comes with the picturesque (and roaring) Old Town Rapids, 19th century industrial landscapes and a historical fact – this is exactly where the Swedish King Gustav Vasa founded Helsinki in 1550. Boyfriends and kids-friendly.
Museum of Technology, Viikintie 1, http://www.tekniikanmuseo.fi/engl_info.html
Written by Ksenia Kosheleva.