Image Kalle Nurminen

The permanent exhibition deals with the history of Kemi and vicinity, the influence of the river and sea have played on the area's culture, livelihoods and the various branches of the forest industry. The exhibition is divided into ten top themes, leading down to numerous subthemes.

In the exhibition, the archaeology part tells about life before Christian era up to the official founding of the town. The forest and paper industries are presented through the points of view of working-class living, factories and sawmills from the 19th century to the 21st. The exhibition's Main Street section may take you to the police station, a hairdresser's in the 50's and 60's, a paint and wallpaper store, the service sector and the lives of local prominent people. The Lapland War and its local battles shed a grim light on how the war touched upon residents of Kemi. The river is presented as a water fairway and through the livelihoods of log driving and fishing. The marine and seafaring aspect(s) of Kemi can be discovered in the Port part.

The exhibition's 15 touch screens open up the themes in greater detail. The texts are in Finnish and English, with their Swedish, German and Russian translations appearing in using QR codes.

The plan of the exhibition has been drawn by Kalle Nurminen, the town theatre's set designer. The manuscript of the permanent exhibition has been written by curator Helka Savikuja and her team.


1.Geological Uplift after the Ice Age

2. Prehistory of Kemi and Vicinity

3. The Kemijoki River (Agriculture, Fishing, Hunting, Log Driving)

4. Religion and Churches

5. Customs, Harbours, Port, Smuggling, Seafaring, Sea Containers, Traffic

6. Arts and Urban Culture, Education, Service Sector

7. Industrialisation [and the Pulp and Paper Industries]

8. [Town for] the Working Class and Labour Movements

9. [Torn by] the Lapland War

10. Other Themes: Associations, Clubs, Conspiracies, Organisations, Societies Etc.


The Smoke Hut of ”Yli-Jaakheikki” 27.6.-5.8.2018

Open: Wen-Sun 11:30-16:30

Adress: Museum area of Meripuisto, Kemi

Tel. +358(0)403501034

The Three Dates Carved on the Gable Boarding Tell about the History of the Smoke Hut of ”Yli-Jaakheikki”

The smoke hut of ”Yli-Jaakheikki” was built in the year 1796 in the village of Muurola in the district of Rovaniemi, Finland. Jaakko Heikinpoika purchased it in 1831, floated it on a raft down the Kemijoki river to the district of Maula and re-built it on the land of Ala-Jaakheikki. In 1862 the next owner Heikki Jaakonpoika boarded the timbered hut up, built up a chamber, a porch and two pantries for storing food. The hut was named after its owner. The smoke hut of ”Yli-Jaakheikki” was moved to Kemi in 1950. The area of the present hut is 8 x 7,5 meters and it is 5 meters at is highest.

Life in the Smoke Hut

A smoke hut was a common house-type in the whole Finland from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century. In the oldest huts there were no windows at all, just small, closable hatches. The hut was lighted with a lit splint. Also the stove provided some light. Extra-light was gained by keeping the door and the hatches opened.

The stove was originally in the middle of the building but already from the 10th Century it was common to place it into a corner. It was heated up every day. The smoke poured into the hut while heating and the inhabitants stayed near by the floor or were busy with outside work. The smoke was then released out from a small hole in the ceiling.

In the simplest types of the smoke huts the one and only room was the centre of all work and living. Many generations lived in the same room. Originally the huts had an earth floor. During cold winter times also the domestic animals were let into the hut. For example a horse might have been brought inside. In the evenings when it was already too dark to work, inhabitants sat in the soft dimness of the hut and told stories.