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The Ministry of Education and Culture has designated the Alvar Aalto Foundation a national special museum starting on January 1, 2020, its area of responsibility being Alvar Aalto’s architecture and design heritage. In its new role the Foundation is responsible for safeguarding, preserving and managing Alvar Aalto’s material and intellectual heritage on a national level.

“Under the previous Museums Act, the Alvar Aalto Museum was classed as a special museum without a national remit. Now, we are one of Finland’s 17 national special museums and our status as a museum is clearer in relation to State and municipal officials, and to decision makers. As the newly designated national special museum for Alvar Aalto’s architecture and design heritage we are responsible for maintaining one of the 20th century’s most important cultural treasures for the benefit of everyone,” Alvar Aalto Foundation Managing Director Tommi Lindh says.

The Alvar Aalto Foundation owns a collection of original architectural drawings from Aalto’s architect’s office and administers the Alvar Aalto object collections, which contain examples of almost all of Aalto’s serially manufactured furniture and lighting from over the decades, along with a substantial number of glass objects and textiles. The core of the Foundation’s photograph collection consists of photographs from Aalto’s architect’s office, augmented from the 1970s onwards with pictures by the Alvar Aalto Museum’s own photographers. The Alvar Aalto Foundation’s exhibition, publishing and research work is largely based on the collections that it owns and administers, which are unique in Finland and the world.

The new special museum’s main tasks are architectural-heritage work, exhibitions and events, plus publicity. The role of national special museum adds to the Foundation’s cultural-environment duties tasks such as supervising restorations, coordinating planning and advising on repairs of Alvar Aalto sites as stipulated by law. The Alvar Aalto Foundation seeks to promote the conservation of Aalto’s buildings in tandem with the Finnish Heritage Agency and regional special museums. “Negotiations with the Finnish Heritage Agency in spring 2020 will clarify the special museum’s remit and also identify its funding needs. The Ministry of Education and Culture will decide later on any adjustment to the Museum’s State subsidy,” Lindh says.

Alvar Aalto’s production has a global impact and importance. Interest in Aalto’s architecture and design is growing continually. The design principles and philosophy underlying his production are still relevant and raise issues for public discussion that will continue to be significant in architecture and design in the future.

The Alvar Aalto Foundation has four sites that are open to the public: the Alvar Aalto Museum and Muuratsalo Experimental House in Jyväskylä and the Aalto House and Studio Aalto in Helsinki. The sites welcome more than 50,000 visitors from Finland and abroad annually. An estimated one million people a year visit the exhibitions and events arranged by the Foundation and the other Aalto sites, while about 200,000 people a year view the Foundation’s website.

Further information:
Alvar Aalto Foundation
Managing Director Tommi Lindh
Tel. +358 44 562 1625


Studio Aalto (1954-56; 1962-63). Photo Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation.