TIP OF THE DAY: Watch a short documentary by photo artist Sanna Kannisto about the creation of bird photos at the Hanko bird station.

The history of the Hanko museum

Hanko Museum

The Hanko museum was founded as early as 1907, although the beginning was a bit rocky. Tammisaari had its own museum established in 1906, so Hanko had to have one as well. The beginning of the 20th century was a lively time in the museum field in Finland anyway. It was important to highlight Finland's distinctive features amidst the Russification attempts at the beginning of the century. The museum started its operations in Fohlin's hut on Korkeavuorenkatu.

Hanko museum pages

Laura Lotta Andersson | Museum director

Establishing a museum

The founding meeting of the Hanko home region association was held on 14 November 1907. Conrad Appelgren was elected chairman, Jeja Roos vice-chairman and Gideon Lax secretary. Appelgren and Roos were prominent figures in Hanko, and both were interested in history. Appelgren has recorded the goals of the association as researching history, economy, agriculture, fishing, animal species, forestry, plant life, people's conditions, social issues, workers' insurance, public libraries, photos of the homeland, fortress ruins and Hauensuole carvings.

Station manager Conrad Appelgren, who was one of the city's first residents and officials, was one of the founders of the Hanko museum.

The first space of the Hanko museum, Fohlin's cabin

In May 1907, the city bought Fohlin's hut, which was located on Korkeavuorenkatu, for 532 marks, or about 2,300 euros, if compared to the current value of money. It was the only building in the Hanko fortress area that had survived after the burnings during the Crimean War in the 1850s.

Otto Fohlin and his wife Kajsa Söderlund had lived in the house at the time. Kajsa was alone at home when the English came to burn Hanko, and she had begged that her house be spared; that's how it happened.

60 years later, the house was considered a shack, but the city's oldest building was considered a good museum building. The house was for sale when Fohlin's grandmother, Kajsa Söderlund, had died. Conrad Appelgren, Jeja Roos and H. Lindgren were tasked with thinking about what to do with the building. It took almost a year for the work to be completed, perhaps partly because the establishment of the home district association was confirmed in November. The working group suggested that a suitable association, perhaps primarily the Hanko home district association, be given 800 marks for the renovation of the interior and annual funding. The latter proposal was not accepted, but now Hanko had its own museum, where all the museum's collections were displayed. These were also increased all the time.

The First World War interrupted the association's activities, and it wasn't until 1923 that a new association meeting was held. In that case, Conrad Appelgren's daughter Ajna Appelgren served as the new chairman, who served as chairman for almost two decades.

There were plans to move the building to Kylpyläpuisto, so that the museum would also be more accessible to spa guests, but this idea was abandoned due to the high price. However, Fohlin's cabin was in bad shape, but there was no money to repair it. However, the building was repaired as much as possible to make it suitable for museum objects. So that the cabin would not be too humid, a stove was purchased there.

The museum will get new premises in the town hall

After the war, a new era began in the history of Hanko Museum. In March 1940, the objects were evacuated to the Tammisaari town hall, some also to Turku.

Turku Historical Museum curator Nils Cleve and Master Andersson assisted in the evacuation. In 1945, a new board was elected for the home region association, which included Birger Boström, Ragnar Ekqvist, Harry Nyman, Tor Karling, Yrjö Manner, CO Westman and Tor Westerholm. The goals of the home region association were to establish an archipelago museum, to establish a home region museum, to collect archival materials and photographs, and to protect the home region and spread love for the home region.

The association asked the city to make Westergård the home region and archipelago museum, but when rebuilding the city, suitable premises for the museum should be taken into account. The objects came to Westergård in the summer of 1946. Birger Boström cataloged the objects with his son. There were 565 objects, 116 objects were lost during the evacuation. Boström tried to get new objects for the museum, but the work was difficult. Only his mother-in-law, Princess Elisabeth of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, donated Parisian morning shoes.

Westergård was never thought of as a permanent space, for example because of its location. A lecture hall was planned for the town hall, but it was not practically suitable for that purpose. The museum was able to move there instead. The space was located below the ballroom and the entrance was through the yard of the police house. Nils Cleve, who was now on the antiquities committee, was very pleased with the new premises. The only problem was that the museum had no storage, so all the objects had to be on display, including duplicates. At Cleve's suggestion, the objects were on the tables because they were cheaper than the cabinets. These were also received from the townspeople as donations, because the museum did not receive support from the municipality, other than that they did not pay rent for the space.

The association's chairman Carl-Olof Westman, vice-chairman Yrjö Manner and secretary Birger Boström displayed the objects by theme, and the museum could be opened in the spring of 1952. The museum was open for a couple of hours on Sundays, and there were a few hundred visitors a year. Birger Boström, the headmaster of the Swedish high school, was the curator of the museum and officially became the curator of the museum in 1956, and he held this position until 1972.

Over the years, many new donations came, but the museum had no storage. For this reason, the home region association requested that the city of Hanko take over the museum, which happened in 1963. However, additional premises were not obtained, which made the museum's operation difficult.

The hunt for new farms in the 1960s

In principle, the museum had good facilities at the town hall, but there was no storage space. In the 1960s, the premises were thought of as Hyllis or at the time the new police building. The next option was to build on the plot next to the town hall, where the library later became.

The most advanced plans were for the city-owned plot at the corner of Rantakatu and Torikatu. The houses built here in the 1890s were to be demolished, because old buildings were not wanted in the modern city. This was the mindset of the 1960s. Riitta Heinänen, the secretary of the association of museums, was of the opinion that the plot was located in a central location, where it was easy for visitors to come.

In 1968, the plans of the architects Nils Aschan and Eric Adlercreutz were ready. It was a modern museum building with an exhibition hall, a warehouse, a gallery, an entrance hall, meeting rooms, a cafe, work spaces and a janitor's apartment, in addition there were reserved parking spaces for cars. The council approved the plans with a clear vote of 26?1, but money was never allocated from the budget for the museum project, and gradually it sank into oblivion. On the other hand, it was good that the museum was not guilty of demolishing the old buildings.

However, the next project was successful. If the city did not grant money for the new building, then in 1970 the museum received FIM 32,000, or approx. 47,000 ?. It was a barracks built in 1793, which was partially destroyed during the Crimean War when the Russians themselves destroyed Hanko's fortifications. In the first city plan, the building is referred to as a church ruin, although it is not known that there was ever any church activity there. However, the building was offered to the parish of Bromarv, where Hankok also belonged, but they thought the building was too small. The railway engineer Evert Wasastjerna made the drawings in 1882 that correspond to the current building. In 1885, the state bought a warehouse where non-customs goods were stored, liquor canisters during the Prohibition period and herring barrels in the 1950s.

When the museum got the building, a wooden floor was made there, on top of the dirt floor, and the roof was renewed. Artifacts related to wars, seafaring, firefighting, hunting and fishing, and folk culture were brought to this building.

In 1982, a big change took place when the museum got Keksi's upstairs warehouse. Almost all the objects in the museum were brought here. Changing exhibitions could now be started in the museum premises. In 1991, the City Hall exhibition space was given up, and the museum's archive was placed there. In 40 years, Keksi's warehouse has filled up so much that it can't hold any more. We are therefore happy that we have received the new facilities in the collection center Leira. Now, if we could get a space where we could tell about Hanko's history, we would be satisfied.

Photos: Hanko museum

Hanko Museum

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