The Finnish Heritage Museum/history

The FINNISH HERITAGE MUSEUM was established in Northeastern Ohio to preserve Finnish and Finnish/North American Heritage for future generations. FHM is developing its permanent collections. Objects selected for our collections will provide all visitors with an opportunity to learn about and better understand Finnish and Finnish/North American history and culture. They are vital aspects of our educational mission. We encourage everyone who supports this goal to consider donating historical objects and/or funding specifically for that purpose. Please help us grow as we work towards preserving a most distinguished and deserving history. Please contact us. Click here for email:

The FINNISH HERITAGE MUSEUM continues developing the following four collection categories related to our slogan: “Then and Now/Ennen ja Nyt.”

Real Collections: FHM is collecting objects that help explain, document, and reflect life in Finland, traveling to North America, and life in North America. How do we define “life?” It means work, play, sport, family, church, etc.; essentially all of the things we do everyday. Categories will include such items as those selected to describe aspects of the home, leisure, farm, and business. The list includes all forms of Textiles (clothes, table coverings, lace, rugs, fabric, knitted items, etc.), Kitchenware (cooking utensils, coffee pots, cookbooks, bakery items, etc.), Decorative Arts in all materials (paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, art glass, etc.), Furniture, Toys, Objects of Communication (letters, postcards, photographs, note cards), Finnish Souvenir/Muistot (remembrances from Finland, especially those that were handmade or those that commemorated a special event like the 1952 Olympics), Handmade Tools, Handmade and/or Hand Decorated Boxes, Birch and Pine Basketry, Storage and Immigrant Trunks, Military Service/Patriotism, Sheathed Knife/Puukko, Currency (old types of money), perhaps an entire example of a household Sauna, etc. FHM is particularly interested in objects that help tell the story of Finnish life there and here.

RESEARCH MATERIALS /LIBRARY: This category includes a wide range of material such as paper ephemera, books, music, letters, boat and airplane tickets, passports, photographs, printed papers, genealogical information, and any other item that provides important data deemed useful for the stated purposes of the FHM. Some can be photocopies but some should be originals to be kept for long-term preservation. Finns have subtle but important cultural identities like being on time and paying one’s debt. Identifiable intangibles like those should be part of the Reference Library. They help document what happened, why it happened, or why it will happen.

CELEBRATING LANGUAGE: The Finnish Heritage Museum is dedicated to presenting and celebrating authentic and appropriate language as it relates to time, region, and societal influence and to communicating language in such a manner as to make those words relevant to the present. FHM bylaws obligate us to present information clearly and appropriately, without prejudice or bias. But, we also realize all written and spoken languages (Finnish and English in this case) are living entities, changing daily through use. When words are translated from one language to another, inherent nuances, inflections, and original meanings may be unintentionally altered. Translation confusions are inevitable, causing comments like “that isn’t quite right” to arise. Although disagreements concerning exact usage of particular words, phrases and spellings will occur, we recognize and accept this challenge as vital to our educational examination of Finnish heritage, past and present-Then and Now/Ennen ja Nyt.

We invite you to regard interpretation variables in the same positive light. Translation is not an exact science. Imagine, for example, how language has dramatically evolved since the first prehistoric symbols of communication were scratched onto rocks and then fast forward your thoughts to the current age of digital cyberspace. FHM will document future discussions of language evolution as an integral aspect of ongoing Finnish culture studies.

COLLECTING GENEALOGICAL DATA: A dedicated group, affectionately known as the “Genies” have begun collecting, sorting, and cataloging data on the Finnish families that have been so instrumental in settling and imprinting Fairport’s rich heritage. Finns have had a tremendous impact on this village in cultural values and actual residency.

We welcome your comments.

Finnish Heritage Museum

The establishment of a new museum in the twenty-first century poses a number of challenging and interesting questions. There are simultaneous practical problems to solve and philosophical ideals to pursue. Realistically, it is not feasible to assemble a large collection of high quality antique artifacts rivaling those of longer established museums. We can, however, focus on developing smaller collections and collections previously less popularized. We can also be inspired by the wonderful hopes and dreams of our immigrant ancestry.
They were courageous people who left the security of family and home in pursuit of a better life. Each arrived with a tireless work ethic, a strong religious foundation, a belief in family, and a conviction for the value of a good education. The Finnish immigrant came to this continent determined to actively participate in its growth. We intend to celebrate their contributions.

The Finnish Heritage Museum adopted a guiding slogan, which considers that there is an Old World – New World connection that has significant meaning. “Then and Now / Ennen ja Nyt” is an indication of the museum’s intention to preserve information related to Finnish and Finnish/American heritage and culture.

The Finnish Heritage Museum thus has an educational mission. The preservation of information will require several parallel paths. One path will follow similar traditional museum collections. Our museum will focus on organizing a variety of collections through purchase and donation that are related to the Old and New World connection. A generalized sampling of those collections includes objects made of textiles, glass, ceramics, wood, and copper.

A second path utilizes twenty-first century technology. This museum website permits us to easily reach a worldwide audience. Information can be effortlessly preserved and shared with millions globally. The digital super highway avoids barriers common to traditional real life exhibitions. Virtual exhibitions do not put rare objects at risk. They do not require the substantial efforts or expenses normally associated with packing, travel, insurance, and housing. A virtual plan offers stimulating innovative possibilities. Hopefully, it will open a dialog spanning the globe.

Our third pathway involves the development of a Research Library. This will be accomplished primarily through the donation of books and genealogical data. The library will be invaluable in planning for actual and virtual collections, programs, and exhibitions. It will also provide an additional resource to help preserve cultural and historically relevant facts.

The Finnish Heritage Museum is excited about the future. We invite you to join us as we begin exploring this fascinating world.

For more information, you may contact FHM through our website: and/or through email to any of the officers found on the
contact us page or by email.
Regular snail mail can be sent to: Finnish Heritage Museum, Box 1121 301 High Street, Fairport Harbor, Ohio USA 44077. To reach us by telephone: (440) 352-8301. Best to call on Saturdays between 9 AM and 3 PM.