Honkakylä Merchant’s Museum

 

Address:  Sorokulmantie 759, 59520 Saari kk    Map >>>

Inquiries: Tel. 050-304 5645

Opening times:  June, July and August open on Sundays  12 am – 6pm

and Tuesdays ja Wednesdays 4.30 pm – 9 pm

Admissions: 2,50 €

 

 

 

INFORMATION

The Honkakylä Merchant’s Museum, set in the original store building, opened to the public in 1987. Its premises are owned by the municipality of Parikkala and the museum is managed by the Honkakylä Village Committee (Honkakylän kauppamuseo ry). The museum occupies the store and the office, while the rest of the building has been furnished as a meeting room for local residents.

The first shop in Honkakylä was established by Olli Sonné in 1898, by the river Myllyjoki at a crossroads on the route to Munavaara (across the current border). This mansard-roofed former shop building still stands in its idyllic location by the bridge, approximately two kilometres’ away along the sand road leading to Parikkala and the church of Saari. Objects from this shop, later known as the Sorasmaa shop, were moved to the Honkakylä Merchant’s Museum. Hence, the museum’s collection originates in two old rural shops in the neighbouring area.

Heikki and Olli Neuvonen had Honkakylä’s other private rural shop built on this site in the 1910s. They ran a general store there until the 1920s. Jooseppi Pitkänen from Ristlahti, Uukuniemi, bought the shop in 1927 and handed it over to his son, Juho Pitkänen. The merchant families of Sonné (later on, Sorasmaa) and Pitkänen were united when Juho married Olli Sonné’s daughter Siiri. Juho and Siiri ran the business as merchants until Juho died in 1977. In its final few years, however, the shop was not open continuously. Juho Pitkänen is remembered as the village community’s colourful shopkeeper. In his final years, he toured the village on his moped like a pedlar in the old days, delivering goods directly to buyers.

EXHIBITIONS

The Museum mainly displays shop items from the 1940s and 1950s. In the store itself, the visitor can step straight back in time to the post-war years of reconstruction and severe shortages. Here, you can see and smell the wide range of products for sale, from clothes to foodstuffs. At the time, rationing was in force in Finland and food and clothes could only be bought with ration cards. The sugar loaves, tobacco, produce from abroad, ladies’ suspender belts, a barrel of herring and a flyflap all take the visitor on a nostalgic journey to the bygone days of the Honkakylä store.

The shopkeeper’s desk is on display in the office room. Bookkeeping and managing the order book were a time-consuming business for the shopkeeper. The latest addition to the museum’s collections in the building is the exhibition of old skis in the shop’s storage rooms. Various types of skis and curiosities spanning decades are on display, from wooden skis to the earliest fibreglass types. Chosen as South Karelia’s Local Museum of the Year in 2001, the Honkakylä Merchant’s Museum is South Karelia’s only shop museum.

 

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