Sunday, November 15, 2015

WeeGee: Five Museums, So Little Time

I've seen the sign to WeeGeeTalo many times as I passed to a friend's house near Tapiola, Espoo. The name is intriguing, especially coming from Scotland, but I never knew what it was and had never seen any suggestion that it might be worthwhile visiting. But recently I put a query on an online forum asking for suggestions of what to do with kids and WeeGee was mentioned. 

WeeGee is an exhibition centre that houses 5 different museums: EMMA (the Espoo Museum of Modern Art), KAMU (Kaupunki Museo, the City Museum), Helinä Rautavaara Museum, the Finnish Toy Museum Hevosenkenkä and the Finnish Museum of Horology (Clocks). The name which is pronounced roughly vey-gey in Finnish, comes from the fact that the building is a former publisher's house and their initials were WG. 

There isn't a lot of info about what to expect. We hoped that there would be something to entertain the kids in at least the Toy Museum. We weren't disappointed. Kids go in free which is a total bonus when you have 4, but it is 12 euros for adults. The museums we visited wouldn't be worth going to for that price on their own, but since they're all together you get your money's worth. 

The City Museum had lots of interactive pieces that showed Espoo through stone age to more modern times, but it also had a temporary exhibition about gladiators which was a big hit. Not all of it was translated into English which the more permanent exhibitions have sorted, but there was a kid's zone and you could try on gladiator helmets and watch a video that showed the gradual growth of the Roman Empire, from just Rome to the edge of Scotland and into Africa. And lots of gladiator dummies, weapons, armour, etc to look at. 

We had lunch at the nice cafe on the ground floor, but be warned that on Sundays the regular 10 euro salad buffet is replaced by a mega-expensive 20 euro bunch buffet. Not sure if it was worth it. 

We then went up to the Toy Museum. The kids didn't even look at the toy displays, they were totally caught up in the excitement of the circus activities: fun mirrors, a slide, a ring where you can dress up as a strong man and try juggling and a caravan where you can dress up as a fortune-teller or magician. There was also an art room where you could do anything you wanted with piles of boxes, tissue paper, ribbons and other crafting supplies. We had tears trying to get them away at the end.  

We were there four hours, including lunch and we didn't make it into the other museums. The Futuro House was closed so we didn't get to go in the big spaceship thingie that looked interesting. Not sure how much the art or clock museums will interest the kids, but we'd happily go back to revisit what we've already seen. 

WeeGee get the Clan's thumbs up. 

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