4.4.2012 – 17.6.2012
Head and heart – Helsinki celebrates 200 years as Finland’s capital
The Head and Heart exhibition at Virka Galleria tells the story of Helsinki, declared as the capital of the newly created Grand Duchy of Finland on 8 April 1812 by Tsar Alexander I. How did that tiny, fire-ravaged town grow up to be Finland’s capital city? How did it become a modern metropolis, a seat of power and government, a centre for culture and business? And what does the future have in store?
The exhibition peels back layers of the capital city’s memories over a period of 200 years, showing visitors how the city has grown and evolved amidst waves of migration. The memories echo the rhythms of each period, whether peacetime or war, telling stories that illustrate the history of the city and its inhabitants.
Helsinki residents have come from near and far, making the city a home to a multitude of cultural communities, religions and languages. Over its two centuries as Finland’s capital it has accumulated a strong heritage, experienced struggles for survival and basked in the international limelight. Through all this, Helsinki looks forward with vitality and growth: this is where Finland’s head and heart are.
The Head and Heart exhibition offers an almost tangible journey through time using the new Multitouch display. Numerous objects, films and video clips bring the world of the past to life. The exhibition is brimming with objective historical facts on the one hand and personal experiences of major events on the other. A glimpse is also given of the city’s future, a work in progress: while many of the plans are still on the drawing board, the shape of things to come may already be seen, or at least predicted.
The Head and Heart exhibition has two very different components: the exhibition itself at Virka Galleria, where the past is showcased in objects and still and moving images illus-trating historical events; and a walking tour of historical sites around City Hall that the visitor can take with the aid of the city block brochure available at the exhibition. The city centre itself thus becomes a huge exhibit illustrating its own history. Walking around the city can open up new perspectives on familiar (or unfamiliar) locations, as the streets and buildings tell their stories of events momentous and mundane and of people great and small.
Virka Gallery / Helsinki City Hall / Sofiankatu 1
Opening times: Mon-Fri 09:00-19:00 and Sat-Sun 11:00-16:00