The Archipelago Museum Project



Espoo is a maritime city with more than 60 kilometres of shoreline. The sea has been shaping Espoo ever since prehistoric times – it is part of Espoo’s identity and history. The recreational use of the archipelago and coast keeps increasing. Starting from 16 June 2018, Pentala is the largest recreation area in the Espoo archipelago.

The archipelago museum will make the city’s maritime past accessible to local residents, tourists and boaters. The naturally beautiful Pentala Island is situated in a central location at the mouth of Espoonlahti Bay, by the Gulf of Finland coastal route. Located on the north-east shore of the island, the well-preserved fisherman’s estate and villa milieu of the museum area will offer a unique setting for diverse museum operations in the near future. You can experience the island’s natural diversity by following a trail across the nature conservation area.

People and nature live side by side in the archipelago.  The Pentala Archipelago Museum is a multisensory museum familiarising visitors with the archipelago way of life on nature’s terms. A special focus will be on life on the terms of the archipelago nature and on leisure time in the archipelago in the past and today. 


The buildings in the museum area are renovated by the City of Espoo’s Premises Department public utility. The scheduled boat traffic to Pentala and the Pentala pier are the responsibility of the Sports and Youth Services of the City of Espoo. The nature trail is the handiwork of the city’s Environment Department which is also responsible for the natural areas on the island. The archipelago museum is a part of the Espoo City Museum family. Visit Espoo is involved in the co-operation. Other partners important for the archipelago museum are the Esbo Segelförening yacht club, the Esbo Hembygdsförening local history association, and a number of other parties acting in the archipelago and on the coast.


The archipelago museum has been planned in Espoo for decades. It was first planned in the current Laurinlahti area, but the buildings on the fisherman’s estate there were destroyed in a fire in the early 1970s. In 1976, the City of Espoo bought large natural areas on Pentala Island. In 1985–88, it acquired the buildings of the former Nyholm fisherman’s estate.

In 1988, Espoo City Museum acquired almost all of the furniture and possessions owned by Gurli Nyholm, the last resident of the Nyholm estate. The City Museum has also continuously been increasing its collections with other artefacts related to the archipelago and fishing.

The project was first known as the fishing museum or the archipelago and fishing museum, but it was given the working title of Pentala Archipelago Museum in 1995. The City of Espoo started renovating the buildings in the early 2000s. In 2008, the Pentala Archipelago Museum became a project approved by the City Board. This marked the beginning of long-term, annual renovation work in accordance with the project plan. The vision finally became reality in 2018 when the Pentala Archipelago Museum was opened for the public.