Sharon Ojanpa Mackey


There are so many noteworthy and exciting things happening at the Finnish Heritage Museum (FHM) in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, that it is hard to know where to begin. As of this writing, the next meeting of the Museum is November 14, at 7pm; the topic – Finnish Christmas traditions. On Monday, December 12, 2016, we will have our annual Christmas party. This year, due to space limitations, the party is being held at Zion Lutheran Church, at the corner of Fifth and Eagle Streets. If you are in town, or nearby, please come join us.

From November 4th through November 6th, 2016, Museum President, Lasse Hiltunen and his wife Jovette attended the FFN Joint Chapter Meeting in Washington D.C. This is the first time in a decade that Finlandia Foundation National representatives have gotten together. The theme for this meeting was the 2017 centennial of Finland’s independence. A member from almost every FFN chapter spoke about his or her group – its programs, problems and challenges. The biggest problem among all the groups seems to be trying to recruit younger members. Does anyone have a solution for this? FHM is well thought of by most of the other chapters, with kudos going to our programs, advertisements in FAR, our unique building, the website, and our presence on Facebook. The keynote address was given by K. Marianne Wargelin, whose father was the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Fairport Harbor many years ago. According to Lasse, Ms. Wargelin’s talk was well received by all. FHM members are eagerly awaiting Lasse’s report on this meeting.

FHM “members’ only” shopping day at the museum gift shop was held on Sunday, November 6th. It was a chance for all Museum members to purchase gifts for Christmas, or just pick up a bargain for themselves. Candles, glassware, books, t-shirts, mugs, even stones were available for purchase. (Ask Anne about the stones.) Gift shop manager Barb Ollila did a great job in setting up the displays in limited space. She had significant help from several FHM members, including Museum Curator Suzanne Jokela, Elaine Kangas, Virpi Buck, John Kangas, Annikki Tompkins, Linda Penttila, and Shirley Northcott. FHM member Bev Harbour used her expertise at the register, making sure everyone was satisfied with his or her purchase.

We are pleased to announce that the Finnish Heritage Museum has once again, with the help of Park Cofield of Los Angeles, been awarded a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. This is the third year in a row we have been so honored. In 2015, we put on Sisu Is In the Heart, a play by Park that had its U.S. premier in Fairport Harbor, and its European premier in Lapua, Finland, in 2016. Also in 2016, Park was instrumental in FHM’s receipt of a grant to put on CREATE/MAKE/PERFORM, a program intended to provide meaningful participatory art making opportunities to older adults (60+), and to support the mastery of theater skills, personal creativity and social engagement.

The 2017 grant awarded to the Museum will enable us to continue this program for older adults. The first step will be filling out a survey about topics that appeal most to potential participants. These survey questions include using your body or voice on stage, writing songs, directing, producing a play, clowning, puppetry…the list goes on and on. The best part is that we get to choose what we are most interested in, then actually get help in realizing our ambitions. This new CREATE/MAKE is not limited to FHM members, but should also include anyone from the area who would like to get involved. For more information about this, any of our other programs, or any questions you may have, go to our website: www.finnishheritagemuseum.org. You are sure to find something of interest there.









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