at Kuru Outdoor Museum

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HOME IN KURU (1788-1867)

(translated by Telma Martin from the Finnish site with permission)
Kuru open air museum – Vänrikki Stool's cottage


Ensign Stool's cabin
The central sight at Kuru Outdoor Museum is the cabin of Ensign Stool, where Ensign Carl Gustav Polviander lived. He took part in the 1807 war between Sweden and Napoleon's army in Germany, also in the 1808-1809 war of Finland in which he was the standard-bearer of the Royal Pori Regiment.

In this cabin the then young student J.L. Runeberg heard stories from Ensign Polviander, from which he incorporated material into many of his poetry collections, e.g. his work Tales of Ensign Stool/Ståhl.

Originally Ensign Stool's cabin was situated in Hainari, about 2 km from its present location. The cabin was built in the 1700s and was moved at the turn of the last century to Turku, to the outdoor museum of the old Castle, and brought back to Kuru to the grounds of the newly established Kuru Outdoor Museum.

The cabin has been returned to its original form
The cabin which was built in the 1750s has 2 rooms that contain many items made by Ensign Polviander. In the front room, for example, are his self-made bed and a bridal chair that the Ensign presented as an engagement present to his fiancée. It is said that Runeberg admired this chair very much.

On the wall is the pelt of a bear killed by the Ensign himself, also his war and hunting weapons, for example, a war sabre and a self-made short-barrelled mouth-loaded air rifle. On the wall is also an important document, an authority for his nomination as a "furiiri" or billeter for the Royal Pori Regiment.

In the front room you can also get acquainted with ladies' dress fashions. Clothes worn by the Ensign himself do not exist anymore, for they were destroyed some time ago in a fire.

Pulling out teeth was one of Polviander's interests
Ensign Stool also had an important side job, that is told by the tooth hooks on the fireplace. The Ensign's special interest was to pull out the teeth of the villagers - thus he delivered many a neighbour from their agony. On the side wall can be seen waffle irons used by the household. Beside the fireplace on the floor were a spinning wheel and skein reel so familiar to the womenfolk, also a tobacco jar - important to the master.

In the backroom is seen a war chest - reinforced with iron and covered with seal skin and used by the Ensign and which had also accompanied Ensign's son, second captain Gustaf Maurits Polviander on the Crimean campaign in 1855-56. Near the door is a hatbox - made of leather -  that had really been used by the Ensign's son-in-law Forström.

On the back wall you see an old hymn kantele (Finnish instrument like a small knee harp) - the Ensign was known as a musical man. On the side wall is a Gustavian style rung sofa where it is said Runeberg had slept. The bed is on the opposite wall was always made up for visitors. The bedspread on it is original. It is homespun, dyed with natural dyes and the colours are indelible. The Ensign himself slept in the front room in the rear bed and the wife in the bed near the door with the smallest child.

On the sofa table can be seen The tales of Ensign Stool in Finnish and in Swedish in a deluxe edition.

Ensign Stool's cabin is open to the public 20.6 - to Sunday from 12.00-18.00. (Closed Mon - Tues). A guide is on site.

Photos on the website Kuru open air museum – Vänrikki Stool's cottage:
Polviander's sauna behind the office cabin.
Point on map.
Ensign Stool's office cabin.

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