History of the Museum Building

The Sinebrychoff Art Museum is situated at the end of Bulevardi beside a large park. The building, completed in 1842, was the home and office of the Sinebrychoff family.

The 1st floor originally had offices of the brewery and accommodation for servants, and the 2nd floor was reserved for entertainment and the Sinebrychoff family living quarters. The office space of the brewery was located in the north-east corner of the building and the entrance to the office was directly from the street. The kitchen and the servants’ room were in the south-east corner of the building; the entry to the living quarters was via the stairs at the western end, with the rooms facing the street being for entertainment and those facing the park were the private quarters of the family.


Empire-sali. Kuva: Signe Brander (1912)

Empire Room. Photo: Signe Brander (1912)


The house was decorated with valuable ceiling paintings, stucco surfaces and French wallpapers. The house had a bathroom and an indoor toilet, which was a sign that this was a very modern building in Helsinki at the time. Although the cellars, offices and the proximity of production plants were indications of a bourgeois way of life, the need for entertainment was taken into account at the planning stage. The garden and the park beside the building were for public use.


Kustavilainen sali. Kuva: Signe Brander (1912)

Gustavian Room. Photo: Signe Brander (1912)


From Brewery Office to Art Museum

One of the most important private houses in Helsinki was opened as a house museum in 1921. The four rooms facing the street exhibited beautiful interiors in different styles and were filled with interesting artefacts, to a great extent as Fanny Sinebrychoff left them. The museum remained like this until 1939 when it needed to be closed because of the outset of the Winter War. The collection was evacuated to a safe storage. The house located at Bulevardi 40 was badly damaged by bombing, and it was rented out to the Helsinki University of Technology as a chemistry laboratory after the war.


Paul Sinebrychoffin työhuone. Kuva: Signe Brander (1912)

Paul Sinebrychoff’s Study. Photo: Signe Brander (1912)


In 1959, the collections moved back to the rooms restored with funding from the Sinebrychoff company, and in 1975, the government bought the whole building from the brewery. After extensive restoration, the whole building was opened as a museum. In 1980, the collections of old European art from the Ateneum Art Museum were moved there to join Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s art collections.



Restoration of the House Museum

Work completed in 2002 focused on preservation and restoration. Black and white photos of the Sinebrychoff home, taken by photographer Signe Brander in 1912, formed the basis for the displays of art works and other artefacts. The four upstairs rooms facing the Bulevardi street have been restored to their original look as far as possible. The rooms facing the park display other art collections of the museum, whereas the downstairs rooms house temporary exhibitions.

The house museum presents the home of the Sinebrychoffs as it was in the 1910s. The art collection, artefacts and furniture are in their original places. As far as possible, the surface materials and paints were selected to reflect the original look of the rooms in 1910.
The restored museum was opened to the public in February 2003.