The decisive battles of the Finnish Civil War took place in Tampere in the spring of 1918. For 15 years, visitors could explore the war and these battles in a popular exhibition at the Museum Centre Vapriikki. The exhibition has now closed, but the topic continues as a web page. Innovative virtual content provides historical information in an immersive manner.
Vapriikki’s popular Tampere 1918 exhibition closed in early September 2023. Since 2008, the exhibition has received acclaim from both visitors and professionals in the fields of history and museology. Rare museum artifacts that have been on display for 15 years needed a maintenance break, and the exhibition space itself is undergoing renovations. However, Vapriikki is not abandoning the important topic of Tampere’s history. The new Tampere 1918 Civil War Museum website provides information about the events of the Civil War in Tampere through 3D-modeled virtual experiences, interactivity, articles, images, and videos.
The Tampere 1918 Civil War Museum website is continuously expanding. It was built using the Unreal Engine game engine, allowing for the creation of immersive experiences set in the Tampere of the Civil War era in the future.
In collaboration with the virtual studio ZOAN, content available in both Finnish and English is aimed at anyone interested in the history of the Civil Wars. It serves students seeking information on the topic as well as those delving deeper into the events of 1918 in Tampere or enthusiasts of innovative museum content. The current Vapriikki exhibition can also be viewed digitally in a precisely 360°-captured version. The use of the website is free of charge. The website has received funding from Operation Pirkanmaa.
The Events of 1918 Remain Significant
Finland’s Civil War was part of a series of conflicts that afflicted Europe in the early 20th century. It had internal causes but was also influenced by the Russian Revolution, World War I, and Germany’s ambitions. Tampere, an industrial city, was the main stronghold of the Reds, around which the White forces tightened their siege in March 1918. The most decisive battles of the war took place in Tampere in March and April. Approximately 16,000 White soldiers and 14,000 Red soldiers participated in these battles. The Battle of Tampere remains the largest urban battle fought in the Nordic countries.
The war left deep scars on Finnish society, and the memory of the war remains strong, especially in Tampere. Vapriikki’s Tampere 1918 exhibition told the story of the war from Tampere’s perspective, impartially and with expertise. The exhibition provided a voice for both Reds and Whites, as well as numerous neutral observers. The website continues with these principles but will expand its perspectives even more in the future, focusing on experiential history, post-war survival, and the rebuilding period of the 1920s.