Sharon OJanpa Mackey, FHM Staff Reporter

kenquigThe regular monthly business meeting signof the Finnish Heritage Museum (FHM) was held on Monday, August 13, 2018. Before the business meeting started, Ken Quiggle, our liaison to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, gave a brief history of our involvement with the Finnish Garden, and our responsibilities in taking care of this gem. The renowned Cleveland Cultural Gardens (CCG) were established 102 years ago on MLK Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio. Pictured at left.

The original idea for the Finnish garden to become part of the CCG came from a CCGBEFOREWalter Maki. Several of the museum members periodically travel to the CCG to plant plants, weed the planting areas, and make sure our garden presents an attractive appearance to passers-by. FHM has sponsored the garden since 2016. The Finnish Garden became part of the CCG in 1958, through the Finnish Central Committee. Our Garden was dedicated on Sept. 9, 1958; and if I remember correctly, the Fairport Harbor Harding High band played at this dedication. It was planned to put four busts and one granite monument of significant Finnish citizens in the garden – Aleksis Kivi, Jean Sibelious, Johan Wilhelm Snellman, Johan Ludvig Runeberg, and Elias Lonnrot

Before FHM took over the responsibility of caring for this garden, the grounds and paths had become overgrown, and the statues in the garden had been left to deteriorate in the weather. Since Ken took on the problem of cleaning up and maintaining the garden, it has been brought back to life, and is a beautiful addition in the heart of the city. August’s meeting of FHM presented the history and the passion behind the memorials that were chosen to be displayed in the garden.



Jane Hiltunen gave a report on Jean Sibelius, probably the most famous Finnish sibelcomposer in history. Although he wanted to be a great performer, his genius lay in composing. Perhaps his greatest composition was Finlandia, the powerful piece that protested the increasing Russian censorship in Finland. This composition led to Sibelius becoming a national hero, and he continues to be the best-known composer to come out of Finland.



shirlNext, Shirley Northcott discussed John Wilhelm Snellman, the influential snellphilosopher and Finnish statesman. He was important in trying to establish Finnish as the national language in Finland, and believed literature could help create a Finnish identity. He was a professor at the University of Helsinki, and served Finland as a Senator and Minister of Finance. As such he was influential in changing the currency from rubles to marks.


lakAleksis Kivi was considered to be one of the greatest authors in Finland, accordingkivi to Bonnie Lackey. The gray granite monument in the center of the Finnish garden is dedicated to him. Kivi lived in a time when the educated people in Finland spoke Swedish. He was the first professional writer who published his works in Finnish. His Seven Bothers is considered the first significant Finnish novel, and was published in 1870. “A strong will carries a man even through gray granite.” This quote of Kivi’s is on the Kivi monument in our Finnish Cultural Garden.


donnaNext up was Donna Lesiacsek, who told us about Johan Ludvig Runeberg. runieRuneberg is the National Poet of Finland and the author of the Finnish national anthem, Maame. Every February, the Finnish nation celebrates Runeberg’s birthday by eating raspberry jam-topped muffins. These muffins and Runeberg’s poems stoked the self-esteem and patriotism of the Finnish people in the days before independence.



davelLast to speak was David Leifer. David talked about Elias Lonnrot, who was a lonniFinnish physician, a student of linguistics, a naturalist, and a collector of traditional Finnish poetry. As a physician, he urged his patients to take preventive measures – good hygiene, breast feeding of babies, and vaccines when available - because he believed these were the most effective cures. Lonnrot published the first major scientific work written in Finnish. He also wrote and published Kalevala after collecting stories of the people he visited in his travels.

Ken urged everyone at the meeting to go visit the garden, especially the new herb patch planted by Dave. Parking is available right in front of the garden. To check out this garden, and the other activities of the Museum, please see our website: finishheritagemuseum.org.

At this time, Lasse invited the gathering to share in the refreshments provided by our very own Genies, after which he called the monthly business meeting to order.

Text © Sharon Mackey, Photos © Jane Hiltunen 2018








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