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About Suur Savo Museum

About Suur Savo Museum

 

The Suur-Savo Museum is the city of Mikkeli's cultural-historical museum. Today the museum is housed in several different buildings. The exhibition rooms are in the original Suur-Savo Museum building at Otavankatu 11, while the office, archives and some of the storage space are in the Mikkeli Art Museum building at Ristimäenkatu 5. The Suur-Savo Museum researches the history of Mikkeli and the Mikkeli region. The museum also collects and records relevant objects and photographs. The Suur-Savo Museum assembles 1-2 exhibitions annually in its exhibition rooms in Otavankatu, and occasionally elsewhere too.

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  Photo: Arto Hämäläinen

The Suur-Savo Museum has its roots in the 1910s, when local cultural figures founded a museum in Mikkeli. But the museum suffered setbacks in its early stages which stifled the idea of a museum in Mikkeli. An exhibition opened in March 1912 had to be closed after only a month owing to lack of space.

Leading local cultural figures were conscious of the need for a museum as a foundation of a distinct local cultural identity. Heikki Häyrinen summed up the idea of a museum as follows: "You see, the people want to learn about themselves and their ancestors' deeds from past times". The basis of a museum is human curiosity, the desire to know about one's own roots.

In order to revive the museum activity that had come to a standstill in the maelstrom of the First World War, the Suur-Savo Museum Association was founded in 1929. The organizer of the association was Aino Pulkkinen, the wife of the provincial governor. The museum obtained premises at Porrassalmenkatu 26 in 1930.

History seemed to be repeating itself when the museum had to give up some of its rooms to evacuees in 1941. Room by room the museum's space diminished. The Suur-Savo Museum finally lost its premises in 1947. This led the association to look for new premises and, from the late 1940s, the aim of the Suur-Savo Museum Association was to acquire the granary owned by the local landowners' association. After being renovated, this building was taken into use by the museum at midsummer 1960. The same building is still the museum's main building and most of the exhibitions are held there.