Culture bus to faraway lands

The churches in the centre of Helsinki are monumental and magnificent to see, but if you desire a slightly different take on religion, the Helinä Rautavaara Museum in Espoo might be the place for you – and it’s only a quick bus ride from Helsinki.

Kifwebe-masks from Congo-Kinshasa (Raf32, Raf33 ja Raf34)

Helinä Rautavaara (1928–1998) was a Finnish reporter and adventurer who for three decades toured countries outside Europe, from Latin America to Southeast Asia. She built up an extensive collection of religious and cultural artefacts on her travels.

The range of artefacts spans from a multiheaded Avalokitésvara bodhisattva, a portrayal of enlightenment, to Korans and African tribal objects. All in all, Rautavaara brought back material on dozens of different religions from all over the world. The collection forms the permanent collection of the museum named after her, which is located in the WeeGee Exhibition Centre in Tapiola, Espoo.

Helsinki Region Welcome Weeks will organise free transportation to the centre on a culture bus on 29 September. The Welcome Weeks, which take place in the two last weeks of September, offers plenty of other activities introducing newcomers to the way of life in Helsinki and Finland, ranging from workshops to guided walks – some of them organised by the University of Helsinki and other universities and higher education institutions in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

The Helinä Rautavaara Museum welcomes all new residents of Finland to the museum – even after the Welcome Weeks. "Multiculturalism in everyday life is one of the guiding themes of our museum", says Saara Launio, Head Guide for the museum. "We would love to involve immigrants in our work".

For example, the free Knitting Socks and Learning Finnish workshops convene every second Wednesday from 5 p.m. onwards. The workshop teaches you how to knit traditional Finnish wool socks while learning Finnish through informal conversation.

In addition to the Helinä Rautavaara Museum, the WeeGee Exhibition Centre also houses the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA), the Espoo City Museum, the Finnish Toy Museum and the Finnish Museum of Horology. EMMA has guided tours in English at 11:15 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The Helsinki Region Welcome Weeks Culture Bus Tour leaves from the cultural centre Caisa, Mikonkatu 17 C, every hour on the hour between 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The complete programme for the Helsinki Region Welcome Weeks »»

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Text: Juha Merimaa
Photo: Jussi Pakkala / Helinä Rautavaaran museo
Translation: AAC Global
University of Helsinki, digital communications

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