For Finns, the forest has always been – and still is – not only a source of income and a treasure trove of the offerings of the forest, but also a place for recreation and retreat. The Forest of the Finns exhibition introduces the forest from the viewpoint of a hiker, a hunter, a berry picker and a nature enthusiast, and provides information about forest conservation. The exhibition also unveils new paths deep into the forest of folklore, the world of forest myths, stories and beliefs – the world where you could vanish in the forest in a supernatural way.
The Memory tree is a coniferous tree where the lower branches are pruned and the trunk is marked with carvings. The pruned tree has functioned as a boundary marker or to commemorate some significant event, such as a wedding, a funeral, or a bounteous catch. Or, for example, as a memento of a first-timer’s trip to town or the market. The pruned tree of a deceased was made to commemorate the departed: some of the branches were pruned or the top was cut off a coniferous tree that grew some distance along the funerary route. Later on, it became customary to carve the initials of the deceased, along with the year of birth and death, and a cross, onto a tree. The pruned tree on display at Lusto is possibly a tree that grew near a slash-and-burn area, and had the slash-and-burn years carved in it.
The nostalgic Sopu dome tent, developed by a Finn, is a familiar sight to many campers, bringing back fond memories. The Sopu tents were popular in Finland from the end of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1970s when a great deal of campsite accommodation did not yet take place in cabins, but in tents. The comfort of camping tents left much to be desired at first. The tent made out of waterproof fabric was heavy, and in addition, humidity accumulated easily on the inner surface of the fabric. Tents evolved quickly in the 1960s and the 1970s when the insulated tents with double wall construction and new, light fabric materials came on the market.
Moonshine has mostly been made hidden deep in the forest, and that’s why here it has been nicknamed “tears of a wild fir tree” or “wilderness junk”. At one time, homebrewing liquor was legal and common in the whole country. The first restrictions were imposed in the mid-1700s. Farm owners had the right to homebrew liquor up til 1866, after which the homebrewing right was abolished. From then onward, homebrewing liquor has been subject to licence but occasionally illegal moonshiners have been encountered and punished.