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Curators’ End of Year Report for 2015
The Troika: Suzanne Jokela, Janine LaBounty, Larry LaBounty
Committee Members: Anne Pohto, John Ollila, Laura Malkamäki, Beverly Harbour, Alan Steytler, and Ailiin Andrews (correspondence)

Theme for 2015 Museum Displays: The Museum Collections
The Story of Finn Hollow: Display items in the Lobby and Costume Gallery included some of the original Elaine Lillback watercolors that were used as illustrations in her Finn Hollow books; a Finn Hollow plaque dedicated to the ten existing Finn Hollow houses and the village proclamation proclaiming May 15th as “Finn Hollow Day”; and personal items from a family that lived in Finn Hollow, Kustas and Pauliina Huhtanen and their daughter Varma.
In addition to the displays, the September FHM program described what life was like in Fairport in the 1880s. The characters, complete with costumes and props, were Maria Sironen (Anne Pohto), Alex Sironen (Hal Pelto), the Lumberman (Chip Knox), “Frenchy” Thompson (Larry LaBounty), and Narrator (Suzanne Jokela). Their stories were based on Elaine’s books: Finn Hollow of Fairport, Ohio and Lempi of Finn Hollow.
Elaine Lillback, who so thoroughly documented the history of Finn Hollow, passed away this year. Her family graciously donated the remaining Huhtanen family and Finn Hollow items that Elaine had collected, some of her watercolors, and the unsold copies of her Finn Hollow and John Morton books.
Sibelius: The 150th Anniversary: Two displays were setup to honor the composer. The Hall of Fame Room featured some of the Sibelius postage stamps in our collection including a copy of the 2015 Finnish special issue stamp set showing three portraits of Sibelius that were painted by Finnish artists to represent different periods of his life. The Main Gallery focused was on the Jean Sibelius tone poem, “Swan of Tuonela” from the Lemminkäinen Suite. The Kalevala was Sibelius’ inspiration to write the music. Sibelius had been approached by Walt Disney to use this particular piece of music in a part II version of ”Fantasia”. The project was never completed.
Sibelius was honored at a FHM meeting. The program consisted of a video of Finnish scenes set to Sibelius’ music. In attendance was a new FHM friend, Emily Stauch, a performing soprano and Cleveland Institute of Music faculty member. She has traveled to Finland and has a great love of Sibelius’ music. She was responsible for arranging a special anniversary concert of CIM musicians and artists to honor Sibelius at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland Hts. Several members were in attendance.
The Panoramic Photographs: The Museum has an interesting collection of panoramic photos by Johan Mäki-Mäkitalo, a local photographer. Some of his photos and his 1902 Kodak touring camera were on display, along with family portraits and local scenes by other photographers.
“Sisu is in the Heart”: A special display was put up in conjunction with the Park Cofield’s production of ”Sisu is in the Heart”. The display consisted of a photographic array showing how the play puppets were designed and made.
Museum members also participated in a “paint party” at the Museum to complete many of the model houses and buildings that were used as props in the play. Some of the models have become part of the Museum collection along with the delivery truck and ship made by Dennis Mackey.
Finnish Textiles: This year the rotating display of textiles included examples of open/transparent weaving, examples of ryijy, raanu and täkänä weaving along with the Museum’s spinning wheels, distaffs and loom. Featured was one of the Museum’s first acquisitions, the 1896 lion distaff. This piece had been newly mounted for preservation and display. Our resident weaver, Rebecca Steinback, conducted weaving classes for students wishing to learn how to use our 12-shaft countermarch loom.

Collection Displays: Other collections on display in the galleries included: the birch bark and wood collection with several models and containers made by Finnish war veterans; wood reliefs depicting sauna scenes, countryside and dioramas of kitchen scenes; the salute to the Finnish coffee tradition; and Sami artifacts. Museum guides, arranged by gallery and display, were available for members and visitors to use.

Finnish Monument Pavers:
Four paver stones were set in the walkway at the Finnish Monument this year. The pavers were ordered by: Phillip Mononen (In Memory of Ray A Mononen Son Dad Brother); Thomas Davidson (Frank Waino Heikkila Frank Davidson); and Elise Cofield McIntyre (Park Cofield Sisu Is In The Heart) and (In Memory of Janet L Cofield Sisu).

Volunteer Recognition:
The 2015 FHM Volunteers were recognized at the December Christmas Party. Fifty-one volunteers, who were FHM members in good standing in 2015 and had logged in at least 10 volunteer hours before Dec. 6th, received Shopping Dollars for our FHM Gift Shop.
The total number of volunteer hours for 2015 (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) was 3855 hours logged in by fifty-six volunteers. There were also many people who donated their time and talents anonymously.

FHM Rummage Sale (FH Village Valuables Sale):
Richard Ohler and his assistant Tom Matpack were once again in charge of collecting “valuables” from members and organizing the Museum sale tables at the FH Village Valuables Sale. Thank you to all the members who donated items and to all the people who helped during the sale by selling, setting up and cleaning up the tables and pricing items. Look for an announcement about the 2016 sale.

Tour Groups and Visitors:
The 2015 Guest Book shows that FHM had many visitors from all corners of the United States including New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Florida, Minnesota, Iowa, Arizona and California and foreign visitors from Australia and Finland. Some of the Finnish towns/cities represented in the guest book were Espoo, Isokyrö, Helsinki, Riihimäki, Joensuu, Savonlinna, Hamina, Ullava, Kokkola, Turku and Lapua.
The Museum welcomed many groups. Barb and John Ollila hosted the “Welcome Dinner” for the crew of the tall ship Madeline when they arrived in Fairport for the Harbor Fest in July. John is a member of the Madeline crew.
Visitors from Finland came in connection with Park Cofield’s play “Sisu is in the Heart”. There are plans that a version of the play will be produced in Finland. Also, a group from the Immigration Office in Turku came to do research and collect immigration stories on Finns from that area that had immigrated here. Anne Pohto arranged for them to interview our members that were from that area. They were delighted to “find” some of the people that they were researching in our early Fairport panoramic pictures.
An Open House was held for a tour group of Minnesota and Michigan Finns who were on their way home following the Buffalo FinnFest. Many of our members came to greet and welcome them to Fairport.
We hosted our first class field trip to FHM. They were middle school students from the Lillian and Betty Radner School, who were interested in why the Finns settled in Fairport and learning a little about the Finnish culture. The class was divided into groups and they learned about what brought the Finns to Fairport, the Winter War, kantele music and the Kalevala, the Sami, and Finnish wood and textile crafts. Thank you to Donna Lesiacsek, Anne Pohto, Larry LaBounty, Paula Hern, Barb Ollila and Suzanne Jokela for teaching the “lessons”. It was an experience enjoyed by all.
We had a very special visit from Tauno Maki who resided at the Homestead II Nursing Home. He is remembered by some as “the Finn who used to always walk around town”. Tauno toured the Museum displays and over a cup of coffee and some nisu, he delighted Lasse Hiltunen, Anne Pohto and Suzanne Jokela, and his aides Jodi Heath and Lisa Mandato, with stories about early days in Fairport and he answered questions about his family for our genealogy records. The Museum was able to give Tauno copies of some family documents from our records and to show him a book of poetry written by his grandfather. Tauno made other stops around town that day too. We were saddened to learn of his passing the following month.

Library, FHM Office and Miscellaneous:
Library: Janine LaBounty recovered the seats of the wooden library chairs in a black and white Marimekko-style print. Bill Newbury is working on building custom shelves for two walls in the library.
The moneys from the 2015 TV Raffle and the 2015 Village Valuable Sale were designated towards the cost of the carpeting. Also, Amy Moyer designed and crafted a “Red House Quilt” out of Marimekko fabric and was inspired by the “Sisu is in the Heart” play. This quilt was donated to the Museum and is currently on display. Amy has volunteered to make mini quilts personalized with your family name and hometown out of Marimekko fabric. The proceeds from this project will go towards the library carpet fund. Anne Pohto is the contact person for this project.
Genealogy was able to obtain two 4-drawer file cabinets for their growing number of records. They have been placed in the office area upstairs.
Area of Concern: This is a continuing problem at the Museum and a major concern. The curators try to protect and preserve the artifacts and other items that are on display in the galleries. The constant sunlight and heat from the windows causes, among other things, fading, sun rot and dries out the wooden pieces. We have had photos, pictures, costumes, textiles, and furniture that have suffered damage to varying degrees. The sun hits in all of the galleries, but the biggest problem is in the Main Gallery where the sun shines directly on the north wall and can reach as far back as the family histories.
The curators have put protective film on the windows in the back Hall of Fame Room, the Costume Gallery and on the windows upstairs in the curators’ work and artifact storage rooms. We rotate display items and put drop cloths over some items. We have some textiles and pictures that we can’t display in the Main Gallery because of their susceptibility to damage.
It is hoped that a solution can be found to help to solve this problem and that the Museum membership will support this project.

Donations for 2015:
This year, we have received a wide variety of artifact donations from members and from “new friends” looking for a home for their beloved Finnish items. Donated items include: books and record albums; textile and wood items; knives; Finnish coins and Helsinki Olympic items; historical research on Finn Hollow, Killinen Bottling Company and the Temperance Society; and genealogy materials including newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, marriage and baptism records; Aarikka collection; sports items signed and donated by Timo Liekoski; the Winter War maps, a model of the Finnish “secret weapon” and an ammo pouch from Richard Deitke’s program; record books and items from the Knights and Ladies of Kaleva; and the scrapbook which documents the history of the Finnish Cultural Garden on MLK Drive. The list of donated items is below.
The curators record the information about all new artifact donations and acquisitions. This job includes tagging each artifact, recording its specific details and condition in the Museum records, and the donor information. We are still missing information about some of the early donations. If you ever recognize a picture or artifact that is on display and there is no donor information listed, please check with one of the curators. You might be able to provide a clue to some missing piece “artifact” history.

The full Curator’s report for 2015 is only available to FH Members.


 

Curators’ End of Year Report for 2014
The Troika: Suzanne Jokela, Janine LaBounty, Larry LaBounty
Committee Members: Anne Pohto, John Ollila, Laura Malkamäki, Beverly Harbour, and Ailiin Andrews (correspondence)

Theme for 2015 Museum Displays: The Museum Collections
“The Story of Finnish Textiles” focused on a display of three types of textiles associated with Finland: ryijy, raanu and täkänä weaving. Also included in the display were some of the tools used to produce the cloth: spinning wheels, loom, shuttles and stretchers, an introduction to Finnsheep and the Museum’s distaff collection.
Other collection displays throughout the galleries included: our birch bark pieces showing the versatility of the material and the inventiveness of the Finnish woodworkers; a salute to the Finn’s love of coffee; Sami artifacts; and Kalevala and kantele pieces. In honor of the Kalevala display, we have some of the Arabia Kalevala plates for sale in the FHM gift shop. They were part of a donation made to the Museum by the McKinven Family to be used at our discretion. A tribute to three of Helsinki’s main churches (the Orthodox Cathedral, the Helsinki Cathedral, and the Church of the Rock) and a new Drew Gooden plaque were also among the displays.
Finnish veterans were honored in a display to go along with Tim Hadden’s November Veteran’s Day Program. Thanks to Tim’s research we unraveled the mystery behind the Matt Jacobson division rainbow flag and the August M. Luoto coffin picture.
Complete Museum guides, arranged by gallery and display, were available for members and visitors to use. The guides contain background information about the displays.

Weaving Projects:
For a second year our resident weaver, Rebecca Steinback, conducted weaving classes for students wishing to learn how to use our 12-shaft countermarch loom. Alan Steytler, Greg Miscko, Sharon Mackey worked on weaving projects. (Several others are waiting their turn.) They used wooden shuttles purchased for Museum use.
A special thank you to Rebecca, Alan and Greg for changing all of the loom ropes and cords to a special type of cording and wooden pegs. This was done to help prevent the harnesses from slipping and from having to constantly retie the knots.

Finnish Monument Pavers:
Six paver stones were set in the walkway at the Finnish Monument this year. The pavers were ordered by: George Helsius (In memory of Fritz & Helen Helsius); Bonnie Lakso ( Ernie and Matilda Mackey Family); Jim Lakso (Jacob and Justina Lakso Family); Adam Jewell (Steinback Sisu A family trait.) Phil Honkala (Hauskaa Joulua! Mili Laituri December 2013); Laura Blake (Ralph Watild will always be full of sisu!).
A limited number of pavers are still available.
Order forms are available in the file next to the computer or on line. Make sure Suzanne gets a copy of the order form. She is the one who expedites the orders for the pavers.

Volunteer Recognition:
The 2014 volunteers were recognized at the FHM Christmas Party on December 8, 2014. Forty-four volunteers, who were FHM members in good standing in 2014 and had logged in at least 10 volunteer hours before Nov. 30th, received Shopping Dollars for our FHM Gift Shop. The total number of volunteer hours for 2014 (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) was 3817 hours logged in by 54 volunteers. There were also many people who donated their time and talents anonymously. (They did not record their names or hours in the logbook.)
Please consider helping! We are always in need of volunteers to work in the Museum shop or to give tours and to help on committees. Talk to Barb Ollila about helping in the Museum shop. Please check the committee lists or talk to one of the committee chairmen or Museum officers if you’d like to help in another capacity.

FHM Rummage Sale (FH Village Valuables Sale):
Richard Ohler and Tom Matpack were once again in charge of collecting “valuables” from members and organizing the Museum sale tables at the FH Village Valuables Sale. Thank you to all the members who donated items and to all the people who helped during the sale by selling, setting up and cleaning up the tables and pricing items. It was quite an event and Richard is looking forward to doing it again this year. Start to save your quality items!

Himmelis For Sale:
The straw himmelis are traditional decorations in Finnish homes. On one of her shopping expositions, Anne Pohto found some modern silver and gold himmelis on display in a store window. She asked J. CREW if they would like to donate them to our Museum. They are available for sale in various sizes in our gift shop.

Tour Groups:
We hosted the May 27th meeting of the Western Reserve Spinners’ and Weavers’ Guild. Our Resident Weaver, Rebecca Steinback, is a member of this group. The meeting was attended by twenty-two Guild members. They were treated to a “hands-on, insiders look” at our textile collection, a curators’ presentation and were served coffee and nisu. A special thank you to our members who assisted as hostesses for the evening. They made our guests feel welcome.
September was a month dedicated to international studies for Boy Scout Troop #101 of Auburn Twp. While they were doing a weekend camp-out in Lake County, they requested a special Museum tour (on Sept. 20th) to learn about Finland, its culture and people. In addition to the Museum tour, the Scouts had a hands-on look at Finnish woodwork, crafts and tools; Anne Pohto answered their questions about how we do genealogy research; and as a special surprise, we had a visitor who was playing kantele music in the coffee shop and she was glad to do a musical demonstration for the Scouts. After they left, everyone was impressed with how the Scouts had conducted themselves, their interest in the Finnish culture, and their intelligent and insightful questions and comments.

“Upstairs” / Miscellaneous:
In the “future library”, we have a beautiful table. We selected several wooden chairs from the ones that were in storage upstairs to go with the table. They need to be refinished and we are looking for material to recover the seats. Anne Pohto, the curators, and a few helpers, have been sorting through some of the boxes of books stored upstairs. The goal is to find and have access to books and documents that will be of help in genealogical research and historical and background information for Museum displays. Many of the books have to be repacked because we do not yet have shelves in the library. The curators did purchase two sets of shelves to hold our record album collection. Beverly Harbour began sorting the albums and documenting them. (She also finished sorting the Kirkollinen Kalenteri books by year and documenting them.)
No changes were made in the future Museum office, or raha room. Work on the room is on hold until the library shelves are completed and a decision is made about the window framing, wall insulation and flooring. Genealogy is urgently in need of another sturdy 4-drawer file cabinet for their growing number of family records.
The Executive Committee voted to keep the piano that is upstairs in the front room. Dennis Mackey researched the piano company and he has done the cleaning and repair work (both inside and out) on the piano. We have several members who have tried the instrument out. We have Finnish sheet music upstairs for anyone who would like to play.
This year when the Merit Bank of Fairport closed, they donated the two upholstered wooden chairs that are being used the back gallery room. The curators obtained a wooden podium, which will be cleaned and refinished, for the lobby area. This stand will be used to hold the Family History Book of donors for the “Spirit” statue. It also has shelves to hold the Museum scrapbooks and periodicals that are received.
An external hard drive was installed on the computer in December. This is a back-up system to protect Museum records.

Area of Concern:
A major area of concern for the curators is protecting and preserving the artifacts and other items that are on display in the galleries. The constant sunlight and heat from the windows causes, among other things, fading, sun rot and dries out the wooden pieces. We have had photos, pictures, costumes, textiles, and furniture that have suffered damage to varying degrees. The sun hits in all of the galleries, but the biggest problem is in the Main Gallery where the sun shines directly on the north wall and can reach as far back as the family histories.
The curators have put protective film on the windows in the back Hall of Fame Room, the Costume Gallery and on the windows upstairs in the curators’ work and artifact storage rooms. We rotate display items and put drop cloths over some items. We have some textiles and pictures that we can’t display in the Main Gallery because of their susceptibility to damage.
It is hoped that a solution can be found to help to solve this problem and that the Museum membership will support this project.

Donations:
The curators are continuing their work to “log-in” all new artifact donations and acquisitions. This job includes tagging each artifact, recording its specific details and condition in the Museum records, and the donor information. Sometimes the artifacts need to be cleaned or their condition needs to be stabilized before they can be used for displays. It is also an unending project to improve the storage areas for items not on display. We have begun to display some of the Museum’s paintings in the future library. The next big project will be to make a digital record of our artifacts.
There are some early donations that still need to be tagged, identified and recorded. This has been a problem because many of these items have no paperwork to identify the donors or the origins of the pieces. If you ever recognize a picture or artifact that is on display and there is no donor information listed, please check with one of the curators. You might be able to provide a clue to some missing piece “artifact” history.

New Forms:
The Artifact Donation Forms have been revised for 2015. Copies are available in the file next to the computer. A form should be filled out for all artifact donations. Items are not accepted on loan, except by special arrangement by the curators. (For example, items that are borrowed by the curators for a specific display.)
Some members have asked to borrow books or perhaps an artifact for a presentation. There has been no consistent method to keep track of who has borrowed something from the Museum and to know when the items were returned.
Some items were never returned. For example: one of the Corn-Hole boards and a set of beanbags are on the missing list.
On Loan FROM the Finnish Heritage Museum is the new form for borrowing books and artifacts from the Museum. It is available in the file next to the computer. The executive committee (earlier in 2014) voted as a policy not to loan out items like tables or chairs.

Donations for 2014:
In July, we received a very large donation of Finnish artifacts from Jeannie Philbin, of Sonora, CA. The donation includes her entire collection of Finnish items from her grandfather who immigrated to the US from Finland in 1911, her great aunt (Finland) and her mother. The items include family/genealogy documents and pictures, knives, Sami pieces, wood pieces, costume, glassware and silverware, and textiles woven by he great aunt in Finland. Jeannie hopes to visit our Museum sometime this year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

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