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The Museum of Nursing, Public Health Nursing and Midwifery Education is Finland´s oldest museum on the subject, containing information on key persons in the field as well as exhibits of interest.


The Museum portrays a unique picture of how the first headmistresses of Finnish nurse training received their training abroad or studied how things were being done in older educational institutions abroad. During their travels abroad, they created important connections for the development of nurse training and the entire health care sector training in Finland.

The headmistresses brought back not only their impressions but also their notes, books and teaching equipment for the needs of nurse training, student dormitory and the college. The Museum has a collection of teaching material donated from abroad, such as some of the first films on nursing and atlases of human anatomy from the United States, and wall charts and anatomical teaching equipment and books from Germany and England (e.g. Bedford College).

Kaksi sairaanhoitajaopiskelijaa viettävät aikaa oppilaskoulun tilassa mustavalkoisessa kuvassa.

 Florence Nightingale-mitali esillä vitriinissä museossa.

The museum walls are adorned with Finnish nursing patches, and a Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve for exemplary services or a creative and pioneering spirit in the areas of public health or nursing education. The medal is awarded by the International Red Cross.

First steps of the Museum

Vanhaa sairaanhoitajaopiskelijoiden välineistöä säilytyslaatikossa.The student dormitory and nursing college had to move several times within Helsinki until they settled in Tukholmankatu street in 1946. Some of the oldest exhibits and teaching material have been saved from those early days, forming the historically most important treasures of the Museum.

When the operations of Terho, the students' health care unit of Helsingin sairaanhoito-opisto (Helsinki nursing institute), were reduced in the late 1980s, one of its patient rooms was taken over by the Museum. This housed a permanent exhibition containing Finland's oldest teaching material available on nursing. The furniture consisted mainly of old cupboards, tables and chairs that were either repaired or restored. In 1995, a glass cabinet was obtained for equipment used in nursing education.

Vanha asiakirja, jossa on kirjoitetusta vanhanaikaisella tekstillä.In 1994-1995, the Museum was expanded into the rooms further into the museum corridor. More exhibits were added, for example on public health nursing, and in 2008-2011 an exhibition on midwifery and nursing education history were added into two rooms.

Exhibition spaces

Rector´s room

The rector's room contains photos of all the matrons of the Surgical Hospital, as well as the rectors. The room's furniture dates from the times of headmistress Aino Durchman in the 1940s and 50s.

One of the dolls in the glass cabinet wears the first official student dress complete with handkerchief hats, while the other wears matron Sophie Mannerheim's uniform. Sophie Mannerheim became matron at the Surgical Hospital in 1904 and acted at the same time as headmistress of the student dormitory until 1928. The room includes Sophie Mannerheim's desk pad donated by the Mannerheim family.

Near the window, there are photos of foreign nurses and teaches with whom the staff corresponded in the early years to get new ideas on how to develop nursing education in Finland. There is also a self-portrait donated by Florence Nightingale.

Teacher´s room

The teacher's room contains the original furniture from the 1940s and 50s. The room presents, among other things, the decades of extensive international work done by the teachers. The shelves contain teaching material used since the early 20th century and atlases and other teaching equipment.

Mustavalkoinen sairaanhoitajaopiskelijoiden luokkakuva.

Museum corridor

The Museum was expanded in the 1990s. A photo exhibition was put up in the corridor, showing major milestones in nursing education since 1889. Cupboards along the corridor contain items used in teaching, and the glass cabinets contain dolls wearing student, nurse and matron uniforms and a Women's Auxiliary Corps uniform. There are also photos from the days when the nursing college building, right after it was completed, acted as a war hospital in 1939. It was not until 1946 that the nursing students and the college got into the building.

The photos also depict, among other things, how the institute housed female athletes in the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics, and of the earliest stages of the hall of residence and the college.

Student room

The college operated as a boarding school until the late 1960s. The student's room, usually for two students, contains the original furniture from the 1940s and 50s. The room also presents student life at the time.

Tyyne Luoma´s study

The nursing institute's long-time teacher Tyyne Luoma bequeathed her study to the institute. It was transferred in 1994-1995 to the Museum. The room contains photos of nursing courses which Tyyne Luoma taught. The cupboards also contain public health nursing material.

Public health nurses´s room

The public-health nurse's room contains furniture and equipment from the 1940s and 50s. It gives a good idea of what the nurse did and what kind of teaching material was used in health education. The room also displays material used in public health nurse training.

Midwife´s rooms

Midwifery training began in Turku in 1816 and was transferred to Helsinki University in 1833. Metropolia's midwifery training represents and carries on the traditions of this training. The midwife's rooms contain exhibits, books and documents that describe midwifery and midwife training since the 18th century. There are also five dummies in old midwife uniforms.

Patient room

The patient room was used by the students when they got ill when the college was still a boarding school. The room contains the original furniture from the 1940s and 50s.


The library gives a good idea of nursing education material right from the early days of nursing training in Finland. The oldest material dates back to the 19th century.

Hoitotyön koulutuksen kirjoja eri vuosikymmeniltä kirjaston hyllyssä.

Other premises

The museum's kitchen cupboards contain some of the old china in the college.

The orderly's room contains furniture from the 1950s.

In 2005-2006, an exhibit and lecture room was built and equipped with modern furniture and equipment.

Museum operations

Oppilaskoulun vanhassa avainhyllyssä roikkuu lappu, jossa lukee "yövalvoja".In the 1980s and 90s, the design and planning of the Museum and the collection and listing of exhibits was in the hands of a museum committee consisting of the lecturers, assisted on a voluntary basis by public-health nurse Kaija Viitanen. Old documents were archived by lecturers Helena Hukka and Eeva Kujala. Lecturer Leila Simola developed the museum and worked as a volunteer until 2009. The Museum's staff archive was handed over to National Archives researchers in 1998.

Today the museum is run by lecturer Anna-Kaisa Pienimaa together with volunteer workers Inkeri Havu, Pirkko Kiianheimo, Eeva-Liisa Laine, Tuula-Aulikki Oksanen, Sirkka Paavilainen-Wiherheimo, Leena Pohjakallio, Irja Savolainen and Riitta Vuopio.

Read more about local museums from the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region Museum Guide

Submitted on 27.12.2019 - 09:13