June 22-26, 2015

Yksi, Kaksi, Kolme...

A group of 13 Finnish-Americans, and appreciators of Finnish culture, gathered for six hours daily from June 22-26 in the undercroft of the Finnish Congregational Church in South Thomaston, Maine. They came from as far away as Stonington, Pemaquid, and Blue Hill, and as close by as Thomaston, Cushing, and Warren for an immersion course in the Finnish language with Professor Marja-Leena Bailey sponsored by Finnish Heritage House.

Marja-Leena, who taught Finnish to many of the same group as well as at the Finnish  American Heritage Society in West Paris two years ago, is chair of the Department of World Languages, and English as a Second Language at Middlesex Community College in Bedford, MA. 

A native of Finland, Marja-Leena moved easily between Finnish and English. She was patient and full of good humor, but also had a high expectation for and appreciation of what students could learn in five days of immersion. Her focus on real-life learning, which brought in the practical elements of vocabulary for meeting and greeting, for foods and recreation, for family and work, was underlined by her kinesthetic approach. 

The Finnish language does not have prepositions, but uses case endings on words to indicate direction and situation, and students were challenged to internalize those multiple case endings by acting them out: going in, being in, leaving from, for examples. Eyelids that were drooping as the class day waned were opened wide after vocabulary exercises became physical exercises of being in the building––talossa; of leaving the building–talosta; of “gliding” into the building–taloon. We walked, we laughed, and we learned. 

Coffee breaks, facilitated by Steve and Mary Gifford, with nisu/pulla, cakes and cookies, and pie and bars baked by students in the group, provided time for getting acquainted and an easy ambiance for conversation. Day by day we learned about each other in Finnish and in English, celebrated Finnish heritage, and ended the week with a laatikko full of new memories and a desire to continue to study suomea, the Finnish language.

Judith Robbins

Intensive Finnish Language Class
Front Row L to R: Judith Robbins, Anne Little, Jackie Harjula, Lorraine Lans, Kay Dodge, and Lin Gordon. Back Row L to R: Jackie Laffely, Ethel Powell, Sue Edwards, Scott Edwards, Beverly Bartlett, Marja-Leena Bailey (instructor), Steve Gifford, and Mary Gifford.



A Kosti Gala Celebration

This summer will offer a feast for fans of Finnish-American photographer and illustrator Kosti Ruohomaa. The Finnish Heritage House will open this summer’s exhibit “Kosti Ruohomaa and Maine: A Special Relationship” on June 27th. Finnish Heritage House is located on the River Road (Route #131) in South Thomaston, Maine. Finnish Heritage house is open Wednesdays from 9:00 to 1:00 from the last week in June until the middle of October and on Saturdays from 9:00 to noon until the middle of December.

The Finnish Heritage House joins the Farnsworth Art Museum ( in Rockland and the Maine State Museum ( in Augusta with shows celebrating the life and work of Kosti Ruohomaa.

Also, in addition to the three exhibits the long awaited biography of Kosti by Deanna Bonner-Ganter will be available from Down East Books as of July 1st. The Tori at FHH plans to have copies of the biography available. Ms. Bonner-Ganter will be presenting a program on the life and career of Kosti at the annual “Finn Fling” celebration in September.



Rag Rug Raffle Tickets at FHH

Raffle tickets are available at Finnish Heritage House and are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.

The rag rug pictured below was donated by Tooty Wilson.

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Tooty graciously donates one of her beautiful rag rugs to FHH each year. FHH raffles them off at the annual Finn Fling.
This year Finn Fling will be on Sept. 19, 2015.


Bake and Tag Sales

at The Finnish Heritage House

Saturdays 9:00-12:00
March 16, 2013 through Mid·December, 2013

(click here to see a list of items available in our Tori)

Shop in our Tori, chat, view the exhibits, and remember ...

The coffee (kahvi) pot is always on !



Do you have questions about your Finnish family history?

Need help tracing your genealogy?

If you are a member of Finnish Heritage House you have a fellow FHH member who is willing to assist you at little or no cost.

Dig and Delve" offers Genealogical Services, Domestic and Foreign, provided by Margaret Reynolds Oliver, Genealogist.

Inquiries welcome...

Peggy can be contacted by mail at: PO Box 46, South Thomaston, Maine 04858

or by phone at: 207-594-2298

or via email at:



The Finnish Heritage House has prepared a cookbook titled "From A Finnish Kitchen".

It features recipes from members of our Finnish community.
The cookbook is bound and is sure to be treasured for many years.
The book makes a wonderful

The Cookbook is available at the FHH Tori for $12.00. For an extra $4.95 it can be mailed it to your home.

Thank you for your help with this project.


Suomalaiset Jouset
(Finnish Strings)

The kantele ensemble, sponsored by the Finnish Heritage House, was organized in July 2010 and continues to hold regular rehearsals, with up to twelve students at each session. The ensemble meets bi-weekly for rehearsals in Jura Hall beneath the Finnish Congregational Church in South Thomaston, Maine. Eleven string kanteles are made for the group by craftsmen in Finland and cost about three hundred dollars.  The ensemble is learning many new Finnish and American songs, including those with layered harmonies, chords, and harmonics. The talented members often utilize other folk instruments in their performances including guitar, autoharp, mandolin and violin.

A limited number of instruments are available for loan to beginning students including children (ages ten and up), teens and adults.  The cost of lessons for adults is thirty dollars for 5 two hour lessons with the fee waived for children and teens. 

The ensemble performed 39 concerts in 2012 at nursing homes, retirement communities, senior citizen groups, historical societies, schools, museums, and churches.

If you would like join the ensemble, observe a rehearsal, or schedule a performance please contact Celia Jones (Musical Director) at 594-4506, Jackie Harjula at 354-6547 or Steve Gifford at 989-1971. email address:

Jouset-Kantele 005
Suomalaiset Jouset (Finnish Strings) and the western Maine kantele ensemble A'Chordin to Kantele appeared together in concert  at the annual Fall Finn Fling in September 2012.





2015 Finn Fling Tentative Schedule

Saturday - September 19th - 9:00 to 2:00

9:00 to 12:00 - Kahvi ja pulla available at Finnish Heritage House - Register for Door Prizes - Purchase tickets for the Rag Rug Raffle - Complete the 6th Annual Finn Trivia Quiz - Shop at the FHH Tori and Food Sale - View this year's exhibit “Kosti Ruohomaa and Maine: A Special Relationship”.

9:00 to 10:00 - Jura Hall - View a DVD - to be determined.

10:00 to 11:00 - Jura Hall - View a DVD - to be determined.

12:00 to 1:00 - Jura Hall - Lunch Buffet - ($3.00 for adults, Children under 12 Free)

1:00 to 1:30 - Jura Hall - Finnish Heritage House and Finn-Am Society will conduct brief business meetings - Drawings for Door Prizes and Rag Rug Raffle - Announcements - Finn Trivia Quiz Due.

1:30 to 2:00 - Jura Hall - presentation to be determined .



Finnish Heritage House is proud to present Concert Pianist Craig Randal Johnson,
in celebration of the 150
th Anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius
Friday, May 15, at 7 pm. at Thomaston Federated Church, 8 Hyler Street, Thomaston, ME

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Sponsored by Finlandia Foundation National
Following the concert here will be a “meet and greet” with refreshments,
including Finnish Coffee Bread (nisu/pulla).
Suggested donation is $5.00