The museum

In 1827, after the Great Fire, architect C.L. Engel drafted a new city plan for Turku. The new city plan meant that the tightly packed houses of Luostarinmäki would be taken down, and in the beginning of the 1900s the city began to claim plots in the area. Some of the area’s oldest buildings were already making way for Sirkkalankatu street. At the same time, there was an ongoing debate on the value of Luostarinmäki as the embodiment of the pre-fire cityscape and life in Turku.  

This debate on the fate of Luostarinmäki went on for three decades. After many arguments for and against preserving the quarter, a decision was finally made in 1937: ten buildings in Luostarinmäki would be preserved as an outdoor museum, decorating their interiors to present different handicrafts and eras. The buildings in the quarter were, both inside and out, still as they had been in the 1930s. In accordance with the idea for the museum, the buildings were to be restored to their original appearance in line with the time they were built. This required extensive renovation and restoration work, in which the newer layers of the buildings were peeled away to reveal the original structures.  

Old craftsmen, who donated their workshop collections and tools to the museum, assisted in the planning and installation of museum workshops. The Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum opened on 29 June 1940, and in 1956 the rest of the quarter’s old buildings were incorporated in the museum area.