New exhibition at Helsinki University Museum Flame suits all diets

On 17 May 2024, a new exhibition entitled Food for All will open at Helsinki University Museum Flame. The exhibition sheds light on the research behind the food we eat and challenges us to consider our ideas about food. With the new exhibition, the museum’s exhibition centre will finally open to the public as a whole.

The first temporary exhibition of Helsinki University Museum Flame entitled Food for All, will open in the Main Building of the University of Helsinki on Friday, 17 May. A permanent exhibition entitled Passion for Knowledge, launched last autumn, remains on display at the ground-floor exhibition centre. In addition, visitors are served by a new museum shop.

Food for All

The Food for All exhibition feeds the discussion on food by highlighting the significance of research. The exhibition provides a healthy dose of the history of research seasoned with a pinch of humour.

Today, clean and safe food is a given in Finland. Our country has not suffered famine in more than 150 years. On the other hand, nutrition in Finland has undergone an enormous change in a short time. Earlier, scientists used to combat hunger and deprivation. Currently, they are tackling new kinds of questions, while food choices evoke strong feelings. We are not necessarily aware of how research has affected our food history and on what our image of food is based. 

“Museums have a special duty to inspire people to explore past, present and future issues and phenomena, and to provide information on them. This way, museums support public discussion and the formation of understanding. For us as a university museum, it’s important to highlight why and how research has affected food production and controlled consumption. We hope that Food for All will encourage people to engage in constructive dialogue on food,” says Museum Director Miia-Leena Tiili.

Adorning the colourful descriptions are culinary characters and the famous scientist Virtanen drawn by illustrator Sanna Mander. To make it easy for as many people as possible to understand the content, some of the texts are in plain language. In addition to Finnish, the exhibition texts are in Swedish and English. Researchers from a number of fields have contributed to the exhibition. Also on display is a separate section on veterinary education, whose 80th anniversary in Finland will be in 2025.

Easier to visit the museum

The completion of the new exhibition centre is part of the extensive redesign of the former Helsinki University Museum into Helsinki University Museum Flame. The effort began in 2019 when the University’s collections of objects of cultural-historical value were relocated to new collection facilities. In appropriate facilities, the collections are safe and better accessible. In the exhibition centre, the museum will have access to a well-equipped space for temporary displays, enabling versatile exhibition operations. The museum produces multidisciplinary exhibitions in cooperation with the academic community. In fact, Helsinki University Museum Flame constitutes an important part of the University’s public engagement and outreach activities.

Food for All at Helsinki University Museum Flame from 17 May 2024 to 26 October 2025 at Fabianinkatu 33, Helsinki. Open to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 12.00–16.00, Thursdays 12.00–20.00 and on Fridays and Saturdays 12.00–16.00.

On International Museum Day, 18 May 2024, the exhibition centre and Observatory of Helsinki University Museum Flame will be open free of charge. 

Helsinki University Museum Flame elucidates the wonders of science, arts, and starry sky. Helsinki University Museum Flame comprises three venues: the exhibition centre in the Main Building, the Observatory and the Art Room.

Further information on the museum redesign and the Food for All exhibition
Creators and steering group of the Food for All exhibition

Exhibition production and content

Helsinki University Museum Flame, project group Pia Vuorikoski, Aaro Sahari, Helena Hämäläinen, Paula Kyyrö, Katariina Pehkonen, Susanna Hakkarainen, Miia-Leena Tiili

Concept design

Helsinki University Museum Flame and Pentagon Design Oy

Visual design and layout

Taina Väisänen and Jovana Lukic, Takt Oy 

Ilona Ilottu and Janne Koivu, Dog Design Oy 


Sanna Mander

Steering group

University of Helsinki Professors Antti Sukura and Maria Fredriksson-Ahomaa (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine), Mari Sandell and Marina Heinonen (Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry), Johanna Mäkelä and Taru Lindblom (Faculty of Educational Sciences)