Permanent exhibitions

Inside the Bard´s House you will find a main room of the Karelian house with an exhibition of local Karelian rooted traditions. The exhibition lightens the history of the Kantele and also includes a large collection of the Kalevala in different languages.


Elias Lönnrot, the collector of traditional Finnish poetry, visited Mateli Kuivalatar in 1838. Lönnrot spent two days writing down Mateli's poems. The visit had a great impact on what was to be included in the Kanteletar, a collection of folk poetry. Some of the poems sung by Mateli are also found in the Kalevala.

Mateli's lyrical ditties were melancholy poetry in which she tells about her life and fate. A quote from folklorist and poet Martti Haavio compares Mateli's poetry to “a delicate rosa carelica, the rose of Karelia, soft smelling, growing in the wild.”

"Should my treasure come
my darling step by
I’d know him by his coming
recognise him by his step
though he were still a mile off
or two miles away.
As mist I’d go out
as smoke I would reach the yard
as sparks I would speed
as flame I would fly;
I’d bowl along beside him
pout before his face."

Small exhibition of Mateli Kuivalatar is inside the museum buildings from Mateli´s birth home.


This Border Generals Cabin functioned as the command post and lodging of Major General Erkki Johannes Raappana at the Rukajärvi front in Russian Karelia during the war years 1941–1944. Raappana’s forest soldiers engaged in a successful defensive war in the great wilderness of Karelia during the Winter War and the Continuation War.

The Border General’s Cabin and its exhibitions tell the story of a man who was the commanding officer of the border guard detachment in North Karelia, but also known for his love of dogs and the wilderness.


The exhibition in the Mesikkä Animal Museum centers around the relationship between people and nature; the traditions, hunting and the special features of the local flora and fauna. The basis of the exhibition is the collection of stuffed animals by the hunter and teacher Heimo Rautava.

Inside the museum is also the gift shop Parppeinpuoti. The Mesikkä Animal Museum carries the name of Erkki Raappana's war-time pet bear. You can learn more about Mesikkä the bear cub at the exhibition in the Border General's Cabin.

The Mesikkä Animal Museum is located behind the Bard´s House.