The Helsinki City Museum whisks visitors away on a time-travelling expedition one hundred years into the past. The Time Machine makes the photographs of famous Helsinki photographer Signe Brander come to life
with a little bit of help from new technology. Time travellers can also visit the courtyards and streets of 1960s, 1970s and 1980s Helsinki. A new version, Time Machine 2.0, was opened on 14 April 2019.
Most of us have probably wished we could sneak a peek into the past to see how people used to live. Now, you can do exactly that and step onboard our Time Machine that whisks you away to visit a very lively and authentic Helsinki of a hundred years past. The Time Machine makes use of a number of technologies, including projection, sound, animation and 3D virtual technologies. Put on the goggles and go!
When we carried out a survey and interviews to find out what point in time people would most like to travel back to, the early 20th century was the overwhelming favourite. Accordingly, we have chosen the early 1900s as our first ever Time Machine era. It was around that time that the Helsinki Board of Antiquities hired the photographer Signe Brander to capture images of the city that was in a state of great flux. The 907 glass negatives she shot between 1907 and 1913 form the basis of the Helsinki City Museum collection.
Brander turned her lens to record the wood-built Helsinki that by then was already giving way to new methods of housebuilding, the city’s glorious Jugend tenements as well as the everyday lives of ordinary people as she witnessed them on the city’s streets and in private. She photographed everyone – from the washerwomen with their scarved heads and the stylish upper class ladies to the workers, the coachmen, the police, the horses, and especially the children. In the Time Machine, Brander’s photos are given a brand new treatment that allows our visitors to step out on to Helsinki’s cobbled streets and mingle with the city’s residents of yesteryear.