"Then and Now" /A celebration in the Finnish /American Perspective/ "Ennen ja Nyt"/
Memories in 3D  March PROGRAM 2010  

Preserve, Highlight your Finnish and other Memories


Memories in Three Dimensional Memory Boxes

A FHM Presentation By Jovette Hiltunen

Daily we are chalking up new experiences, creating multitudes of memories.  How can we take those one-dimensional pictures and make them live once again?  The question raised by Jovette Hiltunen was, “How does an American hillbilly turn a Finnish memory into third dimensional memory?”  Her presentation to the Finnish Heritage Museum group was titled, “Memories in Three Dimensions.”


Having grown up with “five brothers” and the development of the family of two boys with husband Lasse, there have been many photo opportunities for Jovette.  Her earliest pictures were made with her early Brownie box camera.


In the creating of a memory box she cites artist Paul Gauguin, “I shut my eyes in order to see.  Thus, in making a framed box presentation of a memory of someone, she closes her eyes and thinks about the person’s personality and comes up with some of the attributes pertaining to that person.  Opening her eyes, she writes down seven words in a list describing her thoughts of the selected person.

Describing the making of a memory box for her husband Lasse, she recalled his often-stated desire to see Finland once again: “I want to go home.”  He had been born in Helsinki in the cultural park area of the embassies.  Coming to America he had a small scar on his lip that he had to remind him of a fall he had taken as a child.  Although his father had worked in this area of culture, he had come to Fairport, where the job he found was with the Diamond Chemical Industry.  He wanted to see the area where his father had worked in Finland, the street where he lived, the sidewalk he’d fallen on, and all the other memories of ships and water, Sibelius, fish and food.  They were able to take pictures, and even secretly Jovette was able to purchase a waterfront watercolor painting to bring home to surprise Lasse.  

 Having selected a 3-d box she placed a map depicting Finland for the background.  Then, having HelsinkiBoxgathered pictures and miniature items, she made cut-outs, fastening them to the backdrop in the box with an adhesive, thereby telling the story of the man of her life, and his memories of his early childhood.  Now his memory was also her memory and that of their boys.


In making separate memory boxes for other members of the family, Jovette and Lasse searched out information and pictures of his father Uuno and of his mother Aini. 

While in Finland, Lasse found that he was able to speak Finnish fairly well so that people were able to understand his questions.  Jovette said Finnish people made no corrections of their attempts at the spoken Finnish language, but warmed her heart telling her, “You’re such a nice person.”


Making boxes for Seth, one of the boys, involved gathering items representing big boy toys, a batman figure, a cellular telephone, all in a dark background box representing an early foundry job.  The second box in the making for Nick involves top hats, canes and items in presenting his interests.


Sharing these memory boxes with family and friends is rewarding and aid in telling the story of the family to others.  Jovette found that sharing the family boxes brought about a memory from one disabled with memory loss when she saw a little toy car of the 50’s, stating “There goes a fliver.”  She has given all of her creations away.


SueTroutman and Millie Laituri served lovely St.Urho’s Day refreshments. 
Text by ©Elaine Lillback, Photos © by Lasse Hiltunen


Web Hosting Services donated by LuxSci, Inc. providing secure web & email hosting services world wide. Contact: 1.800.441.6612

About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2010 Finnish Heritage Museum (Last modified March 12, 2010)