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Pop-up museum to display “Turku's Pompeii”

Medieval ruins discovered in Turku might go on display to the public as early as this Spring.

Katedralskolanin liikuntasalin lattian alta paljastuu 1300-luvun Turku.
Mediaeval remains were discovered under Katedralskolan's gym floor during renovation work. Image: Jouni Koutonen / Yle

Turku City council officials said on Tuesday that the medieval ruins discovered under a school’s gymnasium floor may be displayed to the public as soon as April.

Timo Jalonen and Minna Sartes from the city administration put forward an idea of a temporary "pop-up museum" that would exhibit the 14th century remains of two houses and a section of street.

After the short-term installation, the ruins would be covered up to allow for the renovation of the upper secondary school’s gymnasium, which needs new supports.

The other alternative would see the remains preserved as part of a history museum to be established in Turku for the city’s 800th anniversary in 2029.

However turning the gymnasium into a museum will not be that straightforward.

“Katedralskolan has 300 students who use the space for sports, matriculation exams and school events,” said Jalonen, the director of Turku’s education division.

Sartes, who heads the recreation division, said residents of Turku have shown quite an interest in the ruins, so putting them on view would be great.

Remains from the Middle Ages only make up one small part of history, Sartes added. “There is a lot of information available about them already.”

Similar remnants of old Turku are at display at the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova – a museum located a stone’s throw away from the upper secondary school.

City officials are expected to decide on the fate of Turku’s “Pompeii” within the next two months.

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