A total of 148,303 customers visited Helsinki City Museum in 2020 – museum content was also accessible from home
In 2020, the total number of visitors to the museums of the Helsinki City Museum family – Helsinki City Museum, Villa Hakasalmi, the Burgher’s House, the Worker Housing Museum and the Tram Museum – was 148,303. Before the year marked by the coronavirus epidemic, Helsinki City Museum broke visitor records in four consecutive years. In 2020, the total number of visitors was only about a third of record numbers due to museum closures and event cancellations.
Of the museum family, Helsinki City Museum located at the corner of the Senate Square had the most visitors. When museums were re-opened after the lockdown in June, the Urban Food exhibition showcasing Helsinki as a place for food production throughout history and in the future was opened. The permanent photographic exhibition ‘In the Quarters of Kruununhaka’ providing a glimpse into the life and history of the district over a period of about 100 years was opened on electrical cabinets in Kruununhaka in September. The ‘Spaces – DIY Music Venues in Helsinki’ exhibition opened in November and remained open for only two weeks before the lockdown measures were reinstated in December. The Burgher’s House and Worker Housing Museum were closed all year and the City Museum’s Children’s Town remained closed from March to the end of the year.
Villa Hakasalmi had 25,200 visitors in 2020. The popular ‘State of Mind – Helsinki 1939–1945’ exhibition illuminating the impact of the evacuations of Helsinki on people’s states of mind ended at the end of August. The photographic exhibition ‘Ismo Hölttö – Encounters in Helsinki during the 1960s’, which was opened in October, caused a temporary spike in the number of visitors to the level of previous years.
In 2020, the City Museum focused on online content. Museum websites and social media channels now feature content that anyone can enjoy at any time. You can listen to the most fascinating stories and interesting discussions from history to the present day by tuning in to Helsinki Podcasts. Listeners can enjoy podcasts related to the ‘Spaces – DIY Music Venues in Helsinki’ exhibition as well as the timely ‘Exceptional times’ series, examining the strange ways of people in times of crisis. The City Museum’s website features the seven-episode Children’s Town video series.
The collections of the Helsinki City Museum contain almost one million photos of Helsinki and of its residents from the 1860s to the present. The pictures can even be browsed from the comfort of your home in the Helsinkikuvia.fi service, in which the museum has already published about 65,000 photos. The website was renewed and grew more popular boosted by the ad campaign conducted in late 2020. In the spring, Helsinki City Museum also published more than 1,400 new items online in the Finna search service. The newly published items had until that point been exhibited only within the walls of the museum. The art collections on the Helsinki City Museum Finna site became extremely popular – the 65,731 views in 2020 surpassed the 5,550 views of the previous year by a huge margin.
“The year 2020 was extraordinary by all accounts. The exceptional situation saw an increase in people looking for cultural experiences, photographs of Helsinki and information in the museum’s online services, and we should continue developing these digital services. The pandemic also highlighted the importance of the cultural environments of Helsinki. They are a resource that we as a museum want to cherish together with the residents,” says Reetta Heiskanen, who started in her post as the museum director of Helsinki City Museum in August.
“The number of visitors to Helsinki City Museum was looking good in early 2020, but the restrictions introduced due to COVID-19 changed the way Helsinki residents spend their free time. In the summer, nature destinations and travels within Finland attracted more people than museums in the metropolitan area. In addition to this, there was almost a complete lack of tourists from abroad among museum visitors. The new exhibitions that opened towards the end of the year attracted visitors for a few weeks until the museums were closed once again,” adds Head of Visitor Services Jari Harju.