,Info in English

Welcome to North Karelian museum!

North Karelian museum Hilma is located in the centre of Joensuu, in an old bank building next to the market square. The museum's permanent exhibition displays the prehistory and the history of Karelia and North Karelia. There are also several temporary exhibitions each year concentrating on various themes, such as local culture and history. You can find an audio guide to our permanent collection here.

Please follow these guidelines while visiting the museum during the coronavirus pandemic:

Exhibitions 2023

13 May–17 Sep M_itä? Biennale

The M_itä? Biennale of Contemporary Art is an overview of contemporary art which will be held every two years in East Finland. Its name is an acronym of the Finnish words mitä (what) and itä (east). The exhibition concept was created in association with Arts Promotion Centre Finland and its production is a collaboration between art museums of Kuopio, Mikkeli and Joensuu, with different professional curators for the individual exhibitions.

The biennale displays the contemporary art of the region, giving East Finnish artists visibility and improving their opportunities for work. Its aim is to help make East Finland an appealing environment in which visual artists can operate, invite other artists to co-create with East Finnish artists, support the professional development of artists and improve dialogue between different actors in the field of the arts.

The M_itä? Biennale of Contemporary Art showcases the wide range and high standards of professional artists of East Finland. The artists of the biennales are chosen separately for each exhibition through a thoroughly prepared selection process. Each biennale features a carefully chosen selection of artists representing various sectors of art in the region. The biennale process includes support for the work of artists in preparing for the exhibition, networking and making use of the exhibition while it is open to the public.

Saastamoinen Foundation is supporting the production of M_itä? Biennalle.

21 Jan 2023–16 Apr 2023
Natural Balance?

Pictures and videos of the nature of Eastern Finland are brought to Hilma by two experienced and award-winning nature photographers Jouni Erola and Jarno Artika.

The purpose of this exhibition is to not show just snapshots of nature, but to encourage everyone to think of themselves as an integral part of the Finnish nature. How can the adapting nature be observed in everyday life? What would happen if species of plants, insects, and vertebrates were to go extinct from our genetic resources? The photographers hope that these pictures will not only provoke discussion and evoke feelings towards diversity of nature, but also deepen our understanding of it.


Kanteleita Pohjois-Karjalan museossa

Permanent exhibition: Visiting Karelia

The permanent exhibition “Visiting Karelia” takes you all the way from prehistoric times to present day in North Karelia. People in the area have always lived at nature’s mercy and the exhibition also covers this relationship between people and the environment.

Wars have left their mark on the area. This part of history is portrayed from different points of view. The traditional sauna shows how it served people for centuries as a place for both birth and death. The vibrant North Karelian rock music scene also has its own exhibition room.

We hope “Visiting Karelia” will be a rewarding journey to you, providing information and insight along with emotional experiences.

NEW! You can listen to an audio guide on your phone while visiting us, open the guide here. For the best museum experience, please bring your own headphones.


Mukulakatu – Children's Museum

Mukulakatu is a miniature museum street full of activities for our youngest visitors. The atmospheric alley of small wooden buildings completed with a marketplace and a harbor is built specifically for children. Please note that it is not allowed to leave your child alone at Mukulakatu.


Past exhibitions

15 Sept 2022–8 Jan 2023

Urbaretum – a collection of urban findings is an exhibit of the dialogue between archeological findings and Pasi Rajamäki’s photographs on the relationship between trash and treasures. By comparing these elements we can also consider how wasteful humankind is—how many incidental signs of existence we’ve left behind throughout the ages.

Photo: Pasi Rajamäki

12 May­–28 Aug 2022


Unforeseen is based on donated objects and photographs that have not been on display before in the entire 105-year history of North Karelian Museum.  The common theme for all the memorabilia in this exhibition is home and living – the oldest pieces represent the more unusual decorative objects from late 19th century bourgeois homes, e.g. a fireplace cover folding screen and a tobacco table. Many of the more recent objects may bring back memories, perhaps you had the same coffee mug, plate, vase or electric mixer at your grandmother’s home, your summer cottage or your home.

Photo: Armi Jaloniemi / North Karelian museum

2 Feb–14 April 2022
East is East

Photographer Kimmo Kirves and culture journalist Suonna Kononen bring a colourful overview to East Finnish culture makers, artists and researchers through editorial photos at Hilma Museum. Kononen and Kirves interviewed people from four eastern counties: North Savo, South Savo, North Karelia and South Karelia. East is east -exhibition is based on a book by the same name. The book is a collection of these fascinating encounters. 

In the photo musician Joose Keskitalo, photo by Kimmo Kirves.


10 June–12 Sept 2021
East of Finland in Photography

The East of Finland in Photography is an amusing and wistful story of people, nature and boundaries. It tells of the heroes of the east – maidens spinning thread, loggers, hunters and evacuated Karelian mothers – but also how the modern cities of the east were built. The exhibition wanders through a mythical land, opening a window on life in the regions of Karelia, Savo and Kainuu. Its chronological span of photographs from the 1860s up to the present day reveals how the east has been seen at different times and how it has been chosen to be represented. The exhibition has been curated by visual culture researcher Riitta Raatikainen.



Koskikatu 5 (Carelicum)
80100 Joensuu

North Karelian museum is located in the centre of Joensuu close to the market square, ca 1 km from the train station. Show on map


Opening hours

North Karelian museum and Children's Museum Mukulakatu

Monday–Tuesday 10 am–4 pm
Wednesday 10 am–7 pm
Thursday–Sunday 10 am–4 pm


Exceptions 2023

6 Jan closed, Epiphany
7–10 Apr closed, Easter
18 May closed, Ascension Day
23–25 June closed, Midsummer
4 Nov closed, All Saints' Day
6 Dec closed, Independence Day
24–26 Dec closed, Christmas

Changes may occur.


Open Days 2023

Admission to the museum is free on the first Wednesday of the month 4-7PM. (Wednesdays: 4 Jan, 1 Feb, 1 March, 5 Apr, 6 Sept, 4 Oct, 1 Nov & 13 Dec)

There's a free entrance to the museum on theme days. 2023 open days are as follows:  International Museum Day 18 May, Joen yö 19 August, Joensuu Day 29 November.



With the exception of the "Adult + one child only to Mukulakatu" ticket, all other ticket types include admission to the entire museum, including both permanent and temporary exhibitions and the children's museum Mukulakatu.

  • Museum ticket for adults 8 €
  • Combination ticket including North Karelian Museum and Joensuu Art Museum 12 € (valid on the day of purchase)
  • Adult + one child only to Mukulakatu 7 €
  • Students, pensioners, unemployed, children (1–17 years) 4 €
  • Children under 1 year for free
  • Family ticket (2 adults, 1–3 children) 14 €
  • Groups of more than 10 persons 4 €/person
  • Club card to Mukulakatu (valid for 12 months) 31 €
  • Museum Card is your ticket to North Karelian Museum and 300 other museums all around Finland. New card 76 €, renewal of valid card 69,5 € (valid 1 year from first use).

Audio Guide

Book a guided tour

Guided tours to the exhibitions are available by advance booking.The tour takes about 45 minutes.

  • Guided tour in English or Russian: 67 € (Saturdays 70 €, Sundays and public holidays 134 €)
  • Guided tour in Finnish: 62 € (Saturdays 64 €, Sundays and public holidays 124 €)

Bookings and enquiries
Tel. + 358 50 520 2762


Customer service

Customer service
Tel. +358 50 520 2762
Monday–Friday 9 am–3 pm

Opening hours

Opening hours

Monday–Tuesday 10 am–4 pm
Wednesday 10 am–7 pm
Thursday–Sunday 10 am–4 pm



Museum ticket 8 €
Students, pensioners, unemployed, children (1–17 years) 4 €
Family ticket (2 adults and 1–3 children) 14 €

Museum card