03 July 2015

Music Travel: Sibelius Museum review (Turku, Finland)

I recently visited a musical museum in Turku. I have been planning on a series of reviews or a kind of guide for tourists to Turku since I use to live there for few years. I will be publishing my Turku posts on my other blog during this month, or at least I plan to. For the review of the museum, I thought this blog would be suitable publishing spot; I thought I could release music related travel posts in this blog and share travel tips with other music fanatics. I do not travel much, because a student budget, but I am always interested on visiting music related places. So perhaps with time there will be more music travel tips. I will release any music related travel tips under the label 'Music Travel'.

But now to this first review...

The entrance of the museum.

Sibelius Museum is a music museum in the Finnish city called Turku. According to the museum's own website, it is the only actual music museum in Finland. It displays traditional and historical music instruments and other music related things from around the world, though the focus is on European music history. The name of the museum comes from the famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, to whom a room in the museum is dedicated. The museum is owned by the Åbo Akademi University, to which Sibelius was associated with.

The museum is located at Piispankatu 17, right by the Turku Cathedral, along the Aura River. The opening hours and prizes can change, but as a guideline I paid 4 euros (children and students get in cheaper) and the museum closes fairly early, so if you are visiting check the opening hours in advance. Official website in English: http://www.sibeliusmuseum.fi/en/

You are not allowed to photograph inside the museum (and I always respect this rule, even though I know many do not), so unfortunately I do not have photos for this review.

The concert hall was the only place where you are allowed to take photos.

I was unsure if I would be visiting the museum since after I was done with my entrance examination (my reason for visiting Turku) and near the museum, I only had about an hour before it would close down. I am glad I decided to go, since I did like the museum. I think the hour was fairly sufficient, though I had to rush a bit. I would receive 1-2 hours for the museum visit. It is kind of small museum, but there is surprisingly lot of things to see and read. But even if you have under an hour, you still are able to get most out of it.

Like I said, it is fairly small sized museum: There is the concert hall in the middle of it all and the exhibitions go around it. There is also a separate room, or two if you count the "movie room", for the Sibelius exhibition. The size is not big, but many of the instruments and things in show are not big, so there is fairly much to see. The biggest thing why I liked the museum was that there were proper explanations and stories for each item in the museum. Many museums just name the items and leave you wondering what they are actually; Here the explanations were very good and interesting. They give you lots of background information and details about the items and historical times, which makes the museum so much more interesting.

I learned a lot there, like about many instruments I had never even heard of. Do you know what is a fortepiano or a string-monochord? (Sorry, if that is not the proper translation. There was also English information, but I forgot the wrote those down.)  I sure did not know couple of months ago, let alone what they looked like. Many of the instruments on show are very pretty; I could have looked at one piano-like instrument for a long time, it was so pretty! They also let you listen to samples played by few instruments; Clavichord sounded funny to me. I think these kind of samples add serious value to the museum visit.

For the prize, I think you get the value. 4 euros is quite cheap in Finland, so I was not expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised. Even though it was a small museum, there was lots to see and it was very well put together; The explanation boards and music samples in particular made the museum worth a visit, since they make your visit much more interesting. If you are visiting Turku, you are likely visiting the Turku Cathedral and so forth are near the museum anyway, so it is easy to take a short visit to the museum too. I would recommend this place for anyone who has some interest on music and/or history.

I was very inspired by the museum, so I will be writing few posts on my History Of Music series about some things I saw there and want to learn more about. Those will be up in my blog later on this year.

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