Stepping into the brand new Moomin museum is like stepping into a completely different universe, complete with the soft, dreamlike atmosphere of Moominvalley.
A two-metre tall recreation of the blue Moominhouse stands proud in the centre of the exhibition. The Tampere Hall is the proud host for the world’s first and only Moomin museum, which opened in June.
The museum displays nearly 400 original Moomin pieces by the creator of the beloved hippo-like creatures, Tove Jansson. The exhibit also shows around 30 three dimensional pieces by her partner, graphic designer Tuulikki Pietilä.
The exhibition boasts classic pieces by Jansson, and rare gems on display in public for the first time. Each work of art has gone through hours of painstaking restoration.
Constructing the museum cost 3.6 million euros, and is expected to attract over 200,000 visitors a year from all over the world.
Moomin fans have embraced their new pilgrimage site. Yoko Inaba and Fumika Nonaka from Japan were up early and waiting outside the museum a few hours before opening time. The duo was in Finland on a week-long Moomin tour.
It is by pure chance that the highly anticipated museum ended up in Tampere – since, after all, Jansson was a born and bred Helsinki native.
Jansson’s partner Pietilä had an exhibition at the Tampere Art Museum, and Pietilä’s brother, architect Reima Pietilä, was designing the city’s main library.
Jansson had over 2,000 artworks she wanted to donate, but had difficulty finding a museum in Helsinki that would have them. At that time, illustrations were seen as simple prints, not actual art.
Tampere can thank then Tampere Art Museum director Anneli Ilmonen, who took the pieces in.
”I’m sure everyone in Helsinki must be jealous and wishing they had had that kind of foresight back in the day,” says Taina Myllyharju, Tampere Art Museum director, with a laugh.
The museum's first temporary exhibition, Tove Jansson and the Moomins, opened on August 9, coinciding with an inaugural opening concert at Tampere Hall - and what would have been Jansson's 103rd birthday.