The site

Kimito Island is located within the Swedish-speaking coastal region of southern Finland. The villages and cultural landscapes of this territory are considered to have a unique character and are highly valued. The inhabitants have mainly been farmers, fishermen and sailors. The island still retains many examples of built heritage and local traditions that link its landscape to the traditional way of life that characterised this region for centuries.

One such place that exemplifies the charm of by-gone times can be found in the parish village of Kimito, where both the open-air museum Sagalund Museum and the church of Kimito, a medieval stone church from the 15th century, can be found. Sagalund Museum is the oldest open-air museum in Finland and, in fact, one of the oldest museums of this kind in the world. The open-air museum opened in the year 1900. Today, the museum consists of twenty seven wooden buildings which are representative of different historic periods of southern Finland. Most of these structures have been transplanted from the nearby regions, while others have been preserved on site. Sagalund is ranked as a “Heritage Site of National Interest” by the National Bureau of Antiquities.

Unlike the larger, national open-air museums, Sagalund has always had a local emphasis. All the buildings in the museum originate from Kimito Island itself. The museum has a permanent staff of nine people, in addition to which they involve permanently a group of volunteers usually stemming from the local community.

Aside from its function as a museum, Sagalund is also a centre for children’s’ education oriented at the preservation of the island’s intangible heritage, providing a window into the past for the new generations.


The project

The European Heritage Volunteers Project is the continuation of a similar project that has provided support to the Sagalund Museum in 2021. This collaboration has provided a unique opportunity for the participants of having an immersive experience into the traditional culture and way of life of Kimito Island.

During the project in 2022, the participants will support the conservation of the Tjuda Pedagogic Museum building which is one of the buildings located at Sagalund Museum. The work will include the removal of the old alkyd-based painting that was inappropriately used to paint the surface of the building during past interventions and re-applying a layer of new historically appropriate paint.

The project will introduce the participants to the traditional techniques of preparing the paint and painting using the iconic “Nordic red paint”, or falu red, which is a permeable red paint commonly used on wooden cottages and barns in Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Norway. The paint is produced by a mixture of linseed oil, rye flour and other mineral components, and has been used in the Nordic countries since at least the 17th century in the rural areas, to mimic the red-brick façades built by the upper classes. The Finnish expression punainen tupa ja perunamaa, "a red cottage and a potato field", referring to idyllic home and life, is a direct allusion to a country house painted in falu red.

The participants will also take part in conservation activities at the Vreta Folk School, a 19th century structure, where they will be tasked to remove the plastic-based paint and apply a new layer of historically appropriate paint. In addition, other conservation interventions on wooden structures in the museum will take place, including conservation measures at a wooden historical mill.

As part of the educational programme, the participants will be offered guided tours and special visits around the region. Through the planned activities, including traditional Finnish sauna and interactions with the staff working at the open-air museum, the participants will have the opportunity to experience the intangible heritage of Kimito Island while gaining a contextualising overview of the work they will carry out at Sagalund Museum.


The project will take place from August, 14th, till August, 27th, 2022, and is organised by Sagalund Museum Foundation in cooperation with European Heritage Volunteers.

European Heritage Volunteers