In 1843, the Punkaharju State Forest was established and in 1990 the ridge was declared a protected area, with the approval of the Act founding the Punkaharju nature conservation area.
It’s not surprising, then, that the Finnish Forest Museum, Lusto, is located right here. The museum, opened to the public in June 1994, is entirely devoted to illustrate the Finnish forests, their importance and the interaction and relationships between Finns and their forests.
The museum is shaped in such a way as to remind a tree section, and a few huge windows allow the visitor to have a glimpse of the beautiful landscape. Inside, the basic permanent exhibition ‘Discovering the forest’ shows how the Finns have lived off the forests over the centuries. A whole section is devoted to log floating, which in the 1920s and '30s gave work to almost 100,000 men –even though only for a few weeks. Old photographs and a display of the tools used by log floaters help to understand the harshness of the work.
Another interesting section deals with popular beliefs. For centuries, forests, in addition to supporting people with food, heating and even clothes, were believed to host many kinds of magical creatures, sometimes evil, sometimes helpful. In this section a karsikko is on display. In Finnish folklore a karsikko is a conifer tree with some branches cut off in memory of a special occasion or event. Often the date of the event and the initials of the people involved were carved on the tree. The karsikko on display comes from Lapland where it was grew from the 15th century to 1940.
Beside 'Discovering the forest' other temporary exhibitions are organized every year. This year, starting from April 27th, ‘Finn horse – work horse’ will celebrate the 100th birthday of the Finnish horse. On June 15th and 16th the Forest Culture Days will take place, with competitions in logging and log floating, work demonstrations, hands-on workshops, concerts, theatre performances, presentations and information sessions.
Lusto, The Finnish Forest Museum, Lustontie 1, 58450 Punkaharju