The formation of Stundars open-air museum was initiated in 1938 when the elementary-school teacher Gunnar Rosenholm founded a museum society in Solf. Today the museum area is managed by the registered Stundars Association.
The museum consists of some sixty buildings that were all relocated from villages in Korsholm and the Vaasa region. Mr Rosenholm was an ardent collector of peasantry objects and was able to inspire the locals to participate in this extraordinary museum project. The buildings have been furnished to illustrate life at the turn of the 20th century. The farmhouse stands tall surrounded by its storehouses, cowshed, loft, and baking cottage. The simpler crofters cottages and the workshops stand in contrast to the relative wealth of the farmer. Those who did not own farming land had to make their living as dayworkers and craftsmen.
At Stundars we like to keep these handicraft skills alive and every year a number of different events are held here: handicraft workshops, banquets and fairs. Hemmers house is alive with activity all the year round: with fine arts, music and traditional building conservation.
1. Country shop
This building houses both a country shop and a post office. Most of the goods that the villagers needed were available in the shop. In the age of self-sufficiency perishables were not offered for sale. When visiting the shop one could also stop by at the shopkeepers residence, next door to the shop. The building was erected in Old Vaasa and after the 1852 fire it was relocated to Palosaari in the new centre of Vaasa.
2. Village school
Elementary schools became a common phenomenon in Ostrobothnia in the 1880s. Our village school dates from the late eighteen hundreds, but many of the exhibits are of an even older date. School children of different ages were taught in the same room and the pupils duties included heating and cleaning the classroom. Biblical history and the Lutheran catechism were important subjects. The building was relocated from Smedsby.
The farmyard is surrounded by many different buildings such as a stable, cowshed and loft. The farmhouse, a typically Ostrobothnian two-room cottage, is the largest and most handsome of the buildings. Although it has two floors, only the bottom floor was used as residence. The parlour has been furnished to illustrate the lodgings offered to travellers and peasants escorting the travellers. The farmhouse was relocated from another site in Solf.
There are two types of flour windmills at Stundars. The mademoiselle was named after its skirt-like shape. The mill has a bolting machine for grinding fine flour and a planer for pinewood shingles. Millstones were often imported from Sweden.
The mill was erected by the farmer Anders Johan Öjst in Replot in the 1860s.
The tin-smithy was formerly located on a different site in Solf and it was still inhabited in the 1930s. The chamber contains a tinsmiths tools as well as a collection of tin goods. Many everyday articles in the home were made of tinplate: sconces, pocket flasks, mugs, lanterns and toys. The neighbouring municipality of Vähäkyrö is famous for its skilled tinsmiths.
6. The girls’ shed
Having been confirmed in the church, the daughters on the farm were considered as grown-ups and would spend the summer months living in separate sleeping sheds and lofts belonging to the farm.
The girls’ shed was also a storehouse for clothing and the daughters, who were now of marriageable age, often decorated the walls with textiles that they had made themselves.
On Saturday night the young men of the village might come courting. The shed was relocated from another site in Solf.
The smithy was erected in Pörtom in the 1820s, but the timber originates from an older water mill. The farmers of the village often owned a smithy collectively. Being a blacksmith was a reputable profession and the smiths most important task was to make farming tools and implements. The forge and the bellows along with the anvil were the most important equipment in the smithy.
8. The smith’s cottage
The smiths cottage was relocated from Toby. Its last inhabitant was Maria Smeds (1880-1952) in the 1930s. She made a living from washing and ironing clothes for the townspeople. The hop garden at Stundars is situated next to the smiths cottage. Hop was used as flavouring when brewing so-called small beer.
A prosperous farmstead always included a windmill. This windmill was built by the farmer Israel Eriksson Rodas in Tölby in 1813. It was relocated to Solf in the mid-eighteen hundreds. The lower section of the mill tower containing the millstones is fixed whereas the movable top section could be turned into the wind. The vanes were latticed and could be covered with sails in order to adjust the wind force.
10. The carpenter’s cottage
This crofters cottage was built in Solf in the late 1860s. A well-worn carpenters workbench dominates the interior of the cottage. Some of the tools were used for staving wooden tubs and casks. This group of buildings includes a small food storehouse with an opening for the cat in the door and a newly timbered outbuilding. It was erected during the winter of 2002 and reflects the commitment at Stundars to preserving timber building skills.
11. The shoemaker’s cottage
The shoemakers cottage is a single-room cottage from the late 18th century with a kitchen, chamber and porch. The workshop is housed in the small chamber, although shoemakers usually went from house to house repairing and making shoes. The cottage has wallpapers spattered with distemper paint in a light red colour. The practice of using wallpapers in the homes became widespread in the mid-nineteenth century.
12. The miller’s cottage
In 1939 the newly formed museum society purchased a granary which became the first building in the museum area. Three decades later the first dwelling-house was moved to Stundars. Here the miller Karl Fredrik Söderman (1832-1905) had lived with his family. Among the exhibits in the cottage is a baby walker that was used when children were learning to walk.
13. The wise woman’s cottage
This cottage from the 19th century demonstrates the home of a landless person or family. The landless did not own farming land and thus had difficulties making a living. The wise woman might assist women in childbirth or perform cupping. Cupping was a common treatment for various illnesses.
When the cottage was relocated from Toby to Stundars a poor mans porch was added to it.
The building has been used for many purposes and it has been moved several times. The exhibits and tools were used by the potters Erik Wilhelm Nissas (1862-1927) and Arvo Nieminen (1891-1962) in their workshops in Huutoniemi. The potteries produced household utensils such as plates, bowls and flower pots out of red clay.
15. The grey cottages
These are the stone-cutters, potters and coppersmiths dwelling-houses. They are all unpainted although farmers had already begun began using reddle to paint their farmhouses already in the early 19th century. The roofs are covered with birch-bark fastened onto roof beams. Wooden shingle roofs were not common before the mid-nineteenth century when the manufacturing of nails was industrialised.
The workshop formerly belonged to coppersmith Johannes Gammal (1857-1904) in Karperö. The interior fittings and tools originate from different copper-smithies in Vaasa. Coppersmiths produced kitchen utensils; coffee kettles were their most important product. Much of their working hours were spent mending cracked utensils and retinning cookingware.
17. Brass foundry
The brass foundry was erected by Erik Häggqvist (1826-1887) in Sundom in 1850. He would cast brass mortars and bells in his workshop. Mr Häggqvist was a self-taught and skilled craftsman who recieved several awards for his artisanship. The brass foundry with its tools, moulds and other fittings is a unique museum exhibition.
18. The sailor’s cottage
The sailors cottage was built by master of the pilotage services Carl Boij in Klemettilä, Vaasa, in 1875. The cottage demonstrates the home of an old seafarer who has settled back into his home village. The windowless porch displays a seamans chest, fishing implements and tools for staving. Porcelain dogs keep watch on top of the chest of drawers. They are typical sailors gifts that were brought home to his family.
19. Smoke sauna
The sauna stove is heated for eight hours using long pieces of firewood. Since there is no chimney the smoke gets thick inside the sauna, but before sauna baths it is aired out. The sauna was often in joint use by several homesteads and it was also used for smoking meat and fish. In the late 19th century taking sauna baths had not yet become common practice in the Swedish-speaking parts of Finland. The smoke sauna was relocated from Pörtom.
20. The soldier’s cottage
The cottage demonstrates a soldiers home in the 18th century. It contains benches fixed to the wall, bare timber walls and very sparse furnishings. The military allotment system introduced in Ostrobothnia in 1733 divided the farmers into military wards and each ward provided one soldier with a cottage and half an acre of farming land. The cottage was relocated from Runsor.
The house was built in the 1880s in Edsvik, Korsnäs. The Rofhöks family bought it in the early nineteen hundreds. The building is typical of the Korsnäs region and it has been preserved in its original condition. The interior displays a varied colour scheme with rose-coloured wallpapers and windows painted in green umber.
22. Hemmer’s house
Hemmers House is the childhood home of writer Jarl Hemmer (1893-1944). The building was erected on Koulukatu 8 in Vaasa in 1886 and it was moved to Stundars in the late 1970s. The memorial room contains furniture and books donated to Stundars by the Hemmer family. The building has a so-called Caroline floor plan and now contains a restaurant and exhibition rooms.
23. Printing museum
The printing works exhibit the facilities of a newspaper in the 1880s including the editorial offices, composing room, printing room and bookbindery. Most of the exhibits come from the local newspaper Vasabladet which is Finlands second oldest newspaper. It was established in 1856. The upper floor houses a section on modern printing technology. The building was relocated from Koulukatu 29 in Vaasa.
24. Threshing barn
The crop was cut with a sickle and dried in stooks in the field. The grain kiln was heated in the threshing barn and the grain was left to dry until it was threshed with a flail on the threshing floor. It was hard and dusty work but it was made easier if the flail was swung rhythmically. Rye straw was used for thatching roofs, whereas oat and barley straw were used to feed the farm animals. The threshing barn was relocated from Pörtom.
25. The Gros building
This building houses administrative offices as well as Ateljé Stundars and Cirkas shop and café. The building was formerly located at Asemakatu 6-8 in Vaasa. It was erected in 1897 as an outbuilding with a stable and coal-cellar for master tailor Karl Wilhelm Gros (1841-1929).