Hosted inside the Tampere Philharmonic building, which is worth a visit in itself, the Moomin museum is about 100m from the Dream Hostel, and not much further from the city centre. It is as much a “Moomin Experience” as a museum, though it does take you through the history of the books’ release and some of the author’s development. It is much stronger, though, on the contents and general sense of wonder that pervades the books. If you aren’t carried along by that, you might not get much out of a visit.
After a few initial misgivings, I loved the place. I remember the Moomins, though am not sure I ever read a book, and didn’t love the couple I paged through after my visit. Being a little jet lagged still, it’s entirely possible I was too tired to read them properly; they aren’t a simple kids’ book. The cartoon stories were more my level at the time, and even they seemed a little long and wordy.
The place itself is on two floors, mixing dioramas, early editions of the books, electronic descriptions and displays of sketches – disappointingly all labelled “sketch for artwork”, so devoted fans can have a lot of fun working out which work they are from. The lighting is mostly dark, which allows for light effects in places, kaleidoscopic and adding to the mood.
There are plenty of scenes from the books, produced primarily by Jansson’s partner, Pietila, but with the author’s help. Most of them have aural clips, in a variety of languages, which I found captivating, though most visitors didn’t seem to bother with them. Most had brought young children, who perhaps didn’t want to stand in place for a few minutes at a time. They had plenty of fun anyway, it seemed.
I thoroughly recommend the museum, but treat it as an experience rather than a place to go and get a thorough overview of the books. You may well get the latter, but you’ll do just as well soaking up the atmosphere and feeling engendered by the displays, the lighting and the audio narration of the scenes.
And as I travel light, this final quote (final for me, anyway – you can find it on the first floor, so you might start with it, depending which way you turn) summed up my view of ‘things’.