Friday, July 22, 2016

Children's City Museum Reopening and the New Helsinki City Museum

As I mentioned earlier I was keen to go back the the Sederholm House Children's Town which closed a few years ago after being open a very short time. It's now called Children's City/ Lasten Kaupunki to match to the new Helsinki City Museum / Helsingin Kaupunkimuseo that has opened in the buildings around it. Though the name change may have been due to my poor Finnish skills earlier on. 

To be honest, not much has changed with the first part of the museum. Here's my previous review done in 2012. The theater / dressing up area and the shop on the ground floor were lots of fun. They have however made the classrooms more interactive now which is a big improvement. Foo loved playing teacher for over an hour while the other kids played with the dollhouse. They could sit at the desks and practice writing and there were lesson books to hand out and lecture from. The books were very old and pretty well abused already, I hope they have a big supply of them. 

The kids also liked the grandma's house which was an homage to the 70s and reminded me of my own grandmother's house. There was lots of food items and dishes to play with in the kitchen and I liked the recipe box and may have snapped a photo or two for inspiration. 

After much goading I finally got the kids to move onto the new Helsinki City Museum. We skipped the Museum of Broken Relationships as the advertisement includes a photo of a jar of contraception; I wanted something a bit happier to talk about. 

A section of the museum was still closed due to water damage when we went in early July but I can't see from the website if it's still closed. The City Museum looks at the city from the 1800s to modern day much like the children's area does. There were some interesting interactive features like the panorama that allowed you to zoom around the city as it used to look, naming the different buildings. We had a bit of fighting over that piece of equipment as it had lots of levers and knobs to twist so I hope it's sturdily built as it will definitely see some hard use. 

The kids also liked the old rotary telephone that you could use to 'call' various people from around the city (nice mix of ages and ethnicities) and hear them tell about the city. I think; it was in Finnish. They struggled sometimes to dial the right number which gave them a taste of the nightmares I still suffer from rotary phones. 

On its own I don't think the City Museum would warrant a return trip from my family, so I'm glad they finally reopened the Children's City as it's a nice change from the Natural History Museum my kids like to frequent. Being right in the city centre and having free entry makes it an attractive diversion while in town. The cafe didn't really have much choice for kids, but there were enough alternatives in the area that we could pop out and come back afterwards. And there's Senatintori for ice cream afterwards, but watch out for the swooping seagulls. 

Hope you're enjoying these last weeks of summer. 

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