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The Finnish Nationality Room

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
21 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on August 17, at 11:59 PM EDT
Project Owners

Thank you again...from Finland!

September 11, 2017

One of our project team members has filmed a special thank you video from Finland! Enjoy!

Thank You!

August 30, 2017

Now that our campaign is complete, we wanted to take a moment to say "THANK YOU!" to all of our wonderful donors.  Each and every one of your contributions puts us one step closer to the creation of a beautiful Finnish Nationality Room.

While our crowdfunding campaign is now complete, we are still able to accept donations at the following web address:

We encourage you to keep this project in your mind and check out our progress on our website,, and see the beautiful 39 Nationality Rooms on

We thank all our donors and are grateful for your interest and support. This is a great Finnish American Project which we all hope to see succeed. 

Thank you,

Finnish Room team

Osterbothia Home Structure

August 14, 2017

We are excited to report that we are nearly 50% funded! Thank you for your generous support of our campaign.  We only have a few days left for our campaign, and we urge you to spread the word to your networks about our project.  Every donation, no matter the amount, is meaningful to our project. 

Today, we wanted to take a moment to share some additional Finnish building history with you.  In Österbothia, Western Finland, river valley houses were first one story buildings and then one and half stories. Later, people began to build two story houses. They were called kaksifooninen, or dual-functioning.

These two story houses were first built to satisfy both the need for more living space and the desire for a luxurious look. The second story was not always even furnished. The curtains were, however, always hung! Of course, the second story was also useful. People used to hang their laundry to dry in the attics during winters and this second story was great for that purpose and also for storage space.

The villages were typically built along rivers, and the houses resembled long ribbons, almost touching each other on the side of the village road (raitti). When more living space was needed they were made longer by adding rooms on both ends and higher by adding a half or full second story. In other places in Finland. the need for more living space led families to build a new building in the same yard. Bigger houses also had separate ‘torppas’, one room cottages where privacy could be found, especially typical for married couples. 

The first photo below shows John Morton House in Ridley Park, PA, a beautiful example of a "paritupa" design.  The second photo shows various different cottage layouts. 

What is Finnish heritage?

July 16, 2017

The Finnish Room at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning will reflect the Finnish heritage in all its aspects.

    The Room will resemble a smoke house. Smoke houses represent a high-quality log construction technique found only in Finnish buildings, causing the inner wall structure and the log walls to remain stable over time--this technique will be demonstrated in the room.  The beams at the ceiling and smoke hole draw attention to how smoke houses were heated.

   The culture also included the kaskiviljely slash-and-burn technique of farming and an oral poetry tradition which was capable of preserving information and was used in trading and exchanging skills with other tribes. These are described in Kalevala plates on the wall of the Finnish Room, in which life on the land is portrayed and examples of the language are given in the rhyme under each plate, transcribed from the original spoken Finnish.

Picture: Kalevala plate, Kylväjä, sowing seeds

The Finnish Room is not only about the unique architectural technique of the Finnish houses, it is much more; it is about the Finnish culture as it existed and still is alive in Finland.. This rich culture is handed from one generation to another and is the heritage which we can be proud of.. The Finnish Room will demonstrate this heritage and show how it has come along and left its imprint in the new environment also.

The old Viking boat, which became well-known during the early Folk Festivals in Pittsburgh, was brought to the West Moreland Heritage Festival.  Of course, all Scandinavians are now settled in their countries and are not sailing their dragon boats to new destinations.

The Finns also built boats. That was the way to travel along the rivers. Perhaps the Finnish boats did not have the dragon heads on the front scaring the river creatures out of their way. However, great boat builders existed. As it is told in Kalevala, Väinämöinen got the ‘manual’ for building a boat from the old Vipunen.

The Finnish Language that tells about the Vipunen and Väinämöinen, has been spoken for a long time in Finland, long before the historic time, when the written records were kept in Swedish. The Finnish became the official language of Finland during the autonomic time with Russia when also the written record translated into Finnish. Swedish remained as the language of a minority of Swedish Speaking Finns. It was also kept active in order to read old records and history.


The Finnish language uses characters which correspond to the sounds in the spoken words. Michael Agricola started translating the New Testament into written Finnish while he was studying in the University of Wittenberg in Germany. He characters which Gutenberg had in his printing press. They were used in printing European languages and Latin. The first ABC book published by Agricola also had these characters.

The spoken sounds in Finnish are very clear and it was quite easy to connect the characters with the sounds. It took a long time before the sounds used in Finnish words were matched with the right characters. However, at the time when Aleksis Kivi wrote his novel, "The Seven Brothers", the first novel written in Finnish, the characters were well assigned. His writing uses the same letters which through this development had become the Finnish alphabet. The language of the oral tradition, which had served in all forms of endeavors among the Finnish speaking people, is now in written form with the same 15 cases, 4 infinitive forms and other ways to form sentences to communicate in a manner so that even complicated matters and details are understood.

This so called "kirjakieli", book language is  taught in schools and it is used everywhere where written language is needed. With its rich appearance it is well adopted anywhere where written papers or records are needed in addition of being a language used in literature of all kinds. There are 8 vowels and 14 consonants in the Finnish alphabet.

Choose a giving level



Your gift could help us prepare Classroom 306 for remodeling!



Your gift could help fund the sauna benches and the sauna oven!



Your gift could help pay for tree-felling for Finnish Room logs!



Your gift could help pay to prepare the logs for walls and rafters!


Furniture Maker

Your gift could be used to fund the creation of the tables and chairs in the Finnish Room!



Your gift could be used to purchase a traditional Finnish rug to be hung for display!



Your gift could be used to fund the creation of the forest scene mural in the entryway!


Jack of All Trades

Your gift could be used for the vital behind-the-scenes work: lighting, wiring, heating, and cooling the Finnish Room!

Our Crowdfunding Groups