Home and Hall at Finnish American Heritage Center
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Finnish American Heritage Center

The Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC) serves as the hub of Finnish-American life for Finlandia University, the region and the broader North American Finnish community. The FAHC houses the Finnish American Historical Archive, the world's largest and oldest collections of Finnish-American archive materials and works of art, as well as hundreds of museum pieces. It's also the site of the Martha Wiljanen Community Hall, a spacious room that accommodates a wide range of events. The FAHC is the home of the monthly international newspaper "The Finnish American Reporter," the office of the Honorary Consul of Finland for Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the Finlandia University Gallery. Indeed, the FAHC is the "home and hall" of Finnish-American culture and life.

Anchored in The Past

The FAHC's archive and museum collections preserve and promote Finnish-American identity and history. Housed in a climate-controlled environment, the archive has been actively collecting Finnish-American and Finnish materials since it was established in 1932. The ever-growing collection consists of more than 20,000 items, ranging from works of art by Gallen-Kallela, Sailo and Nelimarkka, to centuries-old Queen Christina Bibles, to modern-day St. Urho's Day kitch. The archive serves as the official repository of Suomi College/Finlandia University, as well as the Suomi Synod, Finnish Congregationalists, Federation of Apostolic Lutherans and the Knights of Kaleva. The collection also includes records and materials from many other Finnish societal, cooperative and political groups, as well as diaries, letters, photographs and other personal items. The FAHC is well known for its genealogical materials, including original records and microfilm from Finnish-American churches, societies, and organizations; newspapers and periodicals; personal papers and photographs; and hundreds of microfilmed church records from Finland.

Embedded in The Present

The Finnish American Heritage Center provides a wide variety of programming. During the academic year, the center hosts a monthly Nordic Film Series; community enrichment courses, such as Finnish language, music and dance, among other topics; and presentations by scholars, artists, musicians, and performers. The FAHC is the central location of the City of Hancock's midwinter Finnish festival Heikinpäivä and hosts an annual Finnish Independence Day celebration, the Sibelius Academy Music Festival and the Finnish Folk Music Camp. It sponsors local groups such as the Kivajat Dancers and the Copper Country Suzuki Association, and serves as a meeting site for the university's Finnish Council in America and several local Finnish-themed groups.

The Finlandia University Gallery exhibits fine art by local, national, and international artists, and hosts an annual Contemporary Finnish-American Artist Series, regular exhibits of work by Finlandia students and faculty, and shows by artists from Finland.

The Finnish American Reporter, published on the university campus since 2000, provides a forum for all points of view within the Finnish-American community. The publication serves subscribers in all 50 U.S. states, most Canadian provinces, and several other countries and features contributions from writers around the world.

Embracing The Future

The Martha Wiljanen Community Hall was remodeled in 2013 to include a beautiful hardwood floor; this was the first step in a multi-year, multi-million dollar project dubbed "Home and Hall," which will result in a major renovation and addition to the current facility. Along with expanding the archival storage space to more than double its existing size, Home and Hall will create new presentation rooms, classroom space for both community enrichment programming and Finlandia University courses. It will also include expanded museum space that will allow for further display of artifacts and artwork.

These updates are designed by world renowned Finnish-American architect David Salmela, who coincindentally began his career working under Eino "Jerry" Jyring, the architect who designed the orignal FAHC. Salmela's work incorporates the sensibilities of natural light and open-concept design that are recognized as signature elements of Finnish architecture. Along with the enhancements to the existing facility, the completed project will incorporate the university's North Wind Books retail store, a coffee shop and a fully functioning sauna - bringing the university's most conspicuous Finnish elements together under one roof.

Be a Part of Home & Hall

Home & Hall is prominent in the scope of Finlandia University's new seven-year strategic plan. Grounded in Finlandia University's mission, Plan 2021 is based on a two-fold premise of "Vision" and "Value." The Vision is one of wholeness, distinctiveness and engagement. Value is grounded upon student-centeredness, with the university's image and resources as key catalysts to bring vision and value to fruition as we strive to become our best. The campus posture is to authentically embrace and more deliberately evolve meaningful expressions of Finlandia's Finnish roots and contemporary relations while celebrating and supporting diverse cultural expressions among students, faculty and staff. University stragegies incorporated into the plan include student and employee orientation programming about Finlandia's Finnish-American history and heritage.

The Home & Hall project is supported by the generosity of donors. Be a part of this exciting time at Finlandia University. The efforts to raise funds for Home & Hall can include numerous naming-right opportunities that will allow you to join Finlandia University in its continued commitment to preserving and promoting Finnish culture in North America and beyond.

Learn More

Dr. Lenny Klaver
Vice President for Advancement
906-487-7349
lenny.klaver@finlandia.edu

James N. Kurtti
Director of the Finnish American Heritage Center
906-487-7302
james.kurtti@finlandia.edu