The Lenin Museum in Tampere, Finland is the best known Finnish museum abroad. Within the first decade of the 21st century, over 136,000 people found their way to the Lenin Museum.
The Lenin Museum in Tampere, founded in 1946, is the oldest remaining Lenin museum of the world (another can be found in Vyborg, Russia). The Museum is housed in the historic Tampere Workers’ Hall, where the Russian Bolsheviks under the guidance of V I Lenin held their conferences in 1905 and in 1906. Lenin and the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin also met for the first time in this Workers’ Hall in 1905. The Lenin Museum is owned by the Finland-Russia Friendship Association.
Though most visitors are Finns, the museum is increasingly attracting a large number of visitors from abroad interested in the life and times of the Bolshevik leader. In 2010 10,868 guests from 78 countries made their way to the Lenin Museum ,from all continents, and even as far as Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
The Lenin Museum now provides guide booklets and websites in Chinese language because of the increased number of Chinese visitors (218 last year) and a member of staff is now learning Chinese to help provide a better service for Chinese guests in the future.
The museum has its own shop which sells books and souvenirs, including works of Lenin and other ideological thinkers of the revolutionary movement, Soviet posters, badges, busts and Russian art works.
The Lenin Museum has two permanent exhibitions; Lenin’s Biography and Lenin and Finland. The first one colourfully depicts the life of V I Lenin from his childhood to his last days as the revolutionary leader of Soviet Russia. The other describes the numerous connections between the Finnish people and Lenin.
Together with the permanent displays a number of special exhibitions were held in 2010 including Lenin’s footsteps, Socialist realism in Finland in the 21st century and Photographs from revolutionary Cuba.
The website of the Lenin Museum is another popular service, largely in Finnish but including information in English, Russian and Chinese.
The Lenin Museum is the member of the International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI). In 2010 it cooperated with several institutions including the Lenin Museum in Vyborg in Russia as well as with the governmental museums in St Petersburg, Moscow and Krasnoyarsk.