The online oasis of culture provides relief during the crisis

Date published

Air travel became more accessible in Finland in the 1950s. The newly published photographs from the archives of the Finnish Aviation Museum take viewers on a trip into the history of air travel in Finland. Photograph usage rights: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Amidst the coronavirus crisis, people have turned to’s digital treasure trove of cultural and scientific material. The visitor numbers of the national search service skyrocketed in April: 

over 250,000 visitors accessed Finna’s free online materials, such as photographs, movies and books, which is 23% more than in normal times.  

“During a crisis, cultural heritage, art and literature give strength. It is also important to provide opportunities for research, learning and teaching in a situation like this, when people do not have access to physical material”, says planning officer Maria Virtanen from the National Library of Finland. 

The significance of open access to digital cultural and scientific material has been highlighted by the crisis. 

“Many of the archives, libraries and museums that provide material to Finna have also told us that demand for digital material is on the rise. The crisis has really shown how important the work of cultural and scientific organisations is to society”, says Virtanen. 

Plenty of new material to enjoy 

The offering of the service has been growing at a rapid rate lately. Here are some of our newest treasures: 

1. Asuntosäätiö’s (housing foundation) archive collection 

Espoo City Museum published over 1,000 photographs and nearly 200 documents from the housing foundation’s archives. The foundation is known for its development work in Tapiola. The first set of material from the archives is available at the Finna search service at

2. Helsinki-themed art freely accessible 

The Helsinki City Museum has set up an online collection of more than 1,400 works. In addition to paintings, the collection includes architectural drawings, postcards and posters. 

3. Virtual visits to faraway places 

The Finnish Aviation Museum provides access to a large collection of material related to the history of aviation in Finland. The newest set of material is a collection of 600 photographs from the archives of the Finnish airlines Veljekset Karhumäki and Kar-Air. The collection provides an inside view to Finnish air travel in the 1950s and ‘60s. 

4. Famous adventures – photographs of Göran Schildt 

The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland has published a collection of nearly 400 photographs from the archives of author, adventurer and art historian Göran Schildt (1917–2019). Most of the photographs were taken during Schildt’s travels aboard his sailboat Daphne in 1940–1960. Schildt’s photographs feature many famous travel companions, such as Alvar Aalto, Georg Henrik von Wright and Maire Gullichsen.

More information:
Leading Planning Officer Maria Virtanen, National Library of Finland, tel. +358 50 4487568, maria.virtanen(at)