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Wheelchair visitor with a guide exploring EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art

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Fascinating, Accessible EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art


This article is written by Sanna Kalmari - an accessible tourism expert and traveler. Find out more about Sanna at her Finnish blog PalmuAsema.


This autumn, I have visited various interesting places and had new experiences as part of my cooperation with the Sustainable Growth for Tourism - project. It has been particularly enjoyable to learn more about Espoo, my hometown. It is full of places that I could have visited before, but never went there because they were somehow too easily within reach. One of these is the accessible EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art in Tapiola district.

Arriving at EMMA

EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art is located in the exhibition center WeeGee. The former printing house of Weilin&Göös is now home to museums, exhibitions and events where it is easy to spend several days. The spacious, wide factory-like premises of the building are ideal for museums as well as accessible mobility. We were taken there by car and went back by metro. Next to the loading dock, in the immediate vicinity of the main entrance to the WeeGee building, there are three accessible parking spaces where you can park with a parking card for people with reduced mobility. You can reach the main entrance by taxi. EMMA is a little under a kilometer away from the center of the Tapiola district and the metro station. EMMA has recently published comprehensive instructions in text and video format on how to get to EMMA from the metro station on their website. One of the doors of the WeeGee building’s main entrances is equipped with a motion detector.

Read more on the EMMA website

We arrived around noon and started our visit with a delicious lunch served by Cafe Zoceria in the lobby of the WeeGee building. Cafe Zoceria serves a wide variety of coffees and dishes. Their daily selection features salads, soups, and a lunch option on weekdays. The pasta bolognese served on the day of our visit was very tasty and it was a good decision to have lunch at the museum. You can visit Cafe Zoceria even if you are not going to the museums.

Read more

I haven’t always felt at home in museums, especially modern art museums, but EMMA had a constant good atmosphere and I think I’ll visit there again. The exhibitions change and are updated, but I could also take a look at the current exhibitions again with a new perspective. - Sanna Kalmari

Wheelchair visitor with museum guide xploring exhibition
Photo: Sanna Kalmari

EMMA exhibitions

After lunch, we met Sanna, a guide at EMMA, for a one-hour tour. The paid tour can be reserved for both small and large groups. EMMA also regularly arranges open tours that are available to anyone who has bought a ticket to the museum. They focus on one exhibition at a time, which is ideal, as it is impossible to get to know everything EMMA has to offer in an hour. I was nervous about my visit and writing this post, in particular, as I don’t know art very well and I feel that I can’t tell you about these works of art in the manner they deserve. However, I found it easy to spend time at EMMA and I was captivated by the atmosphere immediately. The guided tour definitely helped this, but I also found the content to be interesting from the very start.

We started on the entry floor, where the Collection Kakkonen exhibition is located. Commercial counselor Kyösti Kaikkonen has accumulated a collection of more than 10,000 design and art objects over several decades. EMMA has about 1,300 objects from this collection on a long-term loan and about half of these are on display in a spectacular manner. My favorites were the children sculptures by Kim Simonsson, the magnificent glass works of Alma Jantunen, the custom-made Cockcrow by Heini Riitahuhta, and the great, breathtaking Glass Forest by Oiva Toikka. I wanted to study all the objects in the collection.

Read more on the EMMA website

EMMA’s exhibitions are on display on two floors. The second floor is accessible by a very spacious lift in the entry lobby, where you can fit several wheelchairs. You need to exit the downstairs exhibition area if you want to use the lift, but you can return there if you want to. On the second floor, we learned about the Chimeras exhibition by Pierre Huyghe with our guide. The exhibition consists of five works of art that challenge the viewer. EMMA’s website has this to say about the exhibition: “Chimeras brings together five works from the last decade, all manifestations of another subjectivity, non-human and inhuman, that keeps transforming itself.” The artworks combine video material, artificial intelligence, live creatures, sound, and lights in a clever way. It features three aquariums and two works of video art. I was speechless and astonished and I’m still uncertain if I understood it. However, I find myself thinking about the exhibition even after two weeks of visiting. Chimeras is on display at EMMA until 22 October 2023, so be sure to visit the exhibition before it is taken down.

Read more on the EMMA website

We also had the chance to learn more about the upstairs exhibitions Magic Room by Yrjö Kukkapuro and the Saastamoinen Foundation collection. Yrjö Kukkapuro is one of the most famous furniture designers in Finland. Magic Room is a concept that has been around the world in which furniture is on display in a manner resembling an installation with various structures and illumination. The exhibition at EMMA marks the 90th birthday of Kukkapuro. It is a celebration of colours and imaginative, colourful furniture that are harmonious with EMMA’s simple, spacious structures. In addition to their appearance, Kukkapuro’s artworks also strongly emphasise practicality and usability. The designer also keeps up with the times and the oil crisis, for example, made him stop using plastic and favour wood instead. The Magic Room exhibition also features artworks from Kukkapuro’s contemporaries and modern-day artists.

The Saastamoinen collection exhibition is a permanent exhibition at EMMA, but it is also updated regularly artwork by artwork and section by section. I was particularly fond of the section that presented artworks where nature is present in different ways. I found Maria Duncker’s horse-themed video installation Hevonen on Häst and Roland Persson’s influential Panama Papers to be particularly captivating.

Read more on the EMMA website:

Yrjö Kukkapuro – Magic Room 

The Saastamoinen Foundation collection

Accessible EMMA

It is very easy to navigate EMMA’s spacious, accessible premises in a wheelchair. The artworks are on display at a suitable height for wheelchair users and I was able to reach the signs with touch panels easily. There was an accessible, roomy toilet on both floors I visited. If you need an assistant to accompany you, they can get in for free. There are a wide variety of different types of tickets, so be sure to check if you are eligible for a discount. EMMA and Exhibition Centre WeeGee’s other attractions, the Mauri Kunnas exhibition and KAMU Espoo City Museum, have free entrance every Friday from 3 p.m. onwards. All of these can be accessed for free with a Museum Card at all times. Both the EMMA and WeeGee websites have comprehensive information about accessibility and the WeeGee website has photos that provide valuable additional information.

Read more about accessibility:

EMMA website 

Exhibition Centre WeeGee website

Wheelchair visitor with a guide exploring modern art at EMMA
Photo: Sanna Kalmari

This experience was part of my cooperation with the Sustainable Growth for Tourism: Southern Finland - project. This autumn (2023), I tried out sites and services in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and Turku that have invested in accessibility to tell you more about them. The Sustainable Growth for Tourism project supports the recovery and competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council and the Regional Council of Southwest Finland as part of the measures carried out in 2021–2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. -Sanna Kalmari

Hero Image: Sanna Kalmari