Refurbished Helsinki Tram Museum opened on 24 March 2022
The refurbished Tram Museum is now even more interesting for children and families, not forgetting tram fans of all ages. A new arrival, The Sisulaattori tram simulator will take you directly to the Helsinki of the past through image and sound.
Trams, buses and the metro have been a part of Helsinki and its residents’ everyday life for over 130 years. The Tram Museum’s new attraction, the Sisulaattori tram simulator, is built inside a motorised tram that used to operate in 1941–1979. There, the visitor can take the place of the driver, passenger or conductor to experience the progress of Helsinki public transport in four different eras with their own eyes and ears. The interactive simulator can take you to Helsinki during the Second World War, the Olympics fever of the 1950s, or the political turmoil in Hakaniemi Market Square in the 1970s. In addition to moving pictures, the simulator also includes sound: you can hear the steps of passengers and the sounds from the street. The simulator is created in cooperation with OiOi, a company specialised in immersive spaces.
The redesign of the museum aims to pay more attention especially to children and families.
“Many children visit the Tram Museum, and now they have access to brand-new experiences and activities, such as a map of Helsinki on which you can drive with toy vehicles and magnets, and questions directed at children by each tram. Trams are wonderful and attract interest regardless of age, gender or cultural background,” says curator Suvi-Tuuli Waltari, who was in charge of the pedagogical updates to the exhibition content.
In addition to the new and exciting activities, the old favourites also remain in place. The museum visitors can board three trams, one of which is a horse-drawn one from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries – even the horse from the museum’s earlier years is back! A classic attraction also remains: the ticket validator.
The museum has six trams of different types on display, from an open-back tram to the motorised trams made in the early 20th century, the ‘Jenkki’ (the Yank) and the ‘Pikkuruotsalainen’ (the Little Swede). For the updated exhibition, all trams have been serviced and restored, and their accessibility and lighting have been improved.
In addition to the trams, the exhibition also features five stops that provide information about the progress of Helsinki public transport. The updated exhibition looks at public transport more broadly, beyond trams: it includes the Helsinki Metro, which has been operational for 40 years now, as well as buses and city bikes. The exhibition also inspires you to think about the future of public transport, and even offers a glance at the new light rail line in Helsinki.
In connection with the opening of the refurbished museum, a children’s book titled Tarinoita ratikoista will also be published. The book delves into the history of trams through real stories. It will be available in the Tram Museum sales trolley, which also includes other fun gifts for aspiring tram drivers of all ages.
The Tram Museum is located in Töölö, Helsinki. In the late 19th century, before electric trams were introduced, the Ruusula villa quarters housed horse stables for the tram horses, along with a wagon shed, washing house, oil storage unit and a saddle workshop. When electric trams began to operate, the site was transformed into a modern tram depot area. The depot building, which is now home to the Tram Museum, was designed by architect Valdemar Aspelin and completed in 1900. The building has housed the museum since 1993. Korjaamo Culture Factory operates next to the museum.
Image: Museum’s new attraction, the Sisulaattori tram simulator, is built inside a motorised tram that used to operate in 1941–1979. There, the visitor can experience the progress of Helsinki public transport with their own eyes and ears.
Photo: Maija Astikainen / The Helsinki City Museum