Services for the region

Services for the region

Up until 1866, business was only allowed in cities and in the countryside on certain market days at the markets. On the other hand, these restrictions were generally skirted and even in Southern Savo, Russian and Karelian peddlers came to peddle their wares.

Once doing business was allowed in the countryside, the service industries that were considered to be part of the city also started to gradually arrive in the countryside; for example, new technology brought with it completely new professions such as photography.

Photographer Emil Tolvanen's corner at the Rantasalmi Museum

Emil Tolvanen (1898–1950), from Rantasalmi, was a multi-skilled individual, who worked as a bicycle repairman, was a partner in the Rantasalmi Cinema, etc. He is remembered, however, first and foremost as a photographer. He circled around different places, particularly in the summer, capturing different celebrations and events. Tolvanen also had his own photographer’s studio in Rantasalmi. He was a skilful photographer and the residents in Rantasalmi used to have the saying ”Selevä ja valamis ku Tolovase valokuva”. (”Clear and ready like a Tolvanen photo.) The Rantasalmi museum has a studio incorporated into it that is reminiscent of Tolvanen’s studio. The large professional camera that Tolvanen used, which was best suited to studio work, is on display.

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Regular postal delivery had already begun in Finland before, in 1638, and the regular routes reached the interior in the 1730s. Post was delivered by ”postal peasants”, in exchange for modest tax exemptions. This system of postal peasants was still in operation in Finland up until the mid 19th century.

Post offices were established in towns located along the postal route. In the countryside, post offices started to be established in the latter half of the 19th century. In general, they were run out of the house of the person running the post office. The post offices also played a major role in employing women, thus contributing to their gaining their independence. The post offices were usually run by postmistresses. At that time, the opportunities women had to earn an independent income were rather limited, especially in the countryside.

Rural Post Office at Lepola, the Ahti Karjalainen Home Museum in Hirvensalmi

Ahti Karjalainen’s older sister, Tekla, ran a post office out of Lepola, the house he was born in. Lepola has on display everything that a rural post office would have had in the early and mid 20th century. In addition to sending and receiving letters and newspapers, the office also offered Postal Bank and Veikkaus betting services.

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Health care in Finland was mainly in the hands of natural healers until the end of the 19th century. The first municipal doctors arrived in 1885. Before that, there really was not any organised health care in the countryside. The situation, however, improved somewhat at the turn of the 20th century when smallpox was eradicated via vaccinations, etc. The Health Care Decree of 1879, which required health care committees to intervene in unhealthy living conditions, remained meaningless for a long time, especially in the countryside.

In Southern Savo, health care gradually improved throughout the 20th century. Medication was invented for many diseases that had been considered dangerous before and some of them were even eradicated. The current residents of Southern Savo are, of course, healthier and on average live longer than their forefathers did 100 or 200 years ago.

The Museum of the Home Mission Society in Pieksämäki

The colleges of the Home Mission Society have a long history of service, some of them even over 100 years. The Home Mission Society moved because of the war from Sortavala, first to Kuopio, then to Pieksämäki. The Deaconess Institute and Pedagogical Institute started up in their new facilities in 1951.

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The Museum of the Home Mission Society has an exhibition on the diverse social work and training the church does. The museum has artefacts related to nursing, the work the deaconesses do, social welfare for children, the elderly and the disabled, substance abuse rehabilitation and education on these subjects.

Nowadays, the Church Resources Agency is responsible for running the Home Mission Society, which also has the Koivuranta service centre for the elderly, the child welfare unit Lastenkoti, the family support centre Ruusu, the Tyynelä rehabilitation centre for intoxicant abusers and the Tyynelä development centre providing development services for social work with intoxicant abusers in other buildings on the same campus. Health and social service education is still provided in Pieksämäki.

Handicrafts done by patients at the Moisio Hospital Museum in Mikkeli

Psychiatric treatment developed in Finland about the same time as treatment for physical illnesses did. Moisio Hospital, which was known as the Mikkeli District Mental Hospital at first, was established in 1927. The hospital’s museum has various types of material relating to psychiatric treatment on display. Particularly interesting is the collection of crafts that the patients have done.Although work was one form of treatment, it also helped fund the hospital’s activities: the goods that the patients made were sold to the residents of Mikkeli and they sold well.The museum also has some of the artwork done by its patients on display. Painting pictures was another form of treatment.

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Last modified: 8 Mar 2022

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