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Preservation of Finnish-American culture is the reason the Finnish American Heritage Center at Finlandia University exists. To ensure that Finnish-American folk traditions exist for centuries to come, the Heritage Center has established the Finnish American Folk School.
The Folk School concept was created to ensure that in future generations there will be Finnish Americans or friends of Finnish-American culture with the knowledge of traditional Finnish folk arts and the skill sets with which they could perpetuate these traditions. The Folk School brings to the Copper Country experts from Finland, or within the Upper Midwestern United States, to teach these traditions in an organized setting.
While the Finnish American Folk School concept materialized from the Finnish American Heritage Center, the Center isn’t the sole entity behind the Folk School. The Folk School utilizes partnerships with the Calumet-Laurium Keweenaw Public Schools (located about 13 miles north of the Heritage Center), Finlandia University, and education-oriented community organizations. The goal of the Folk School is to provide anyone and everyone interested in perpetuating a Finnish folk tradition with the skill set necessary to do so. The School is open to all age and experience levels.
The Folk School concept is centered around three existing Finnish cultural celebrations – the Heikinpäivä Mid-winter Festival in January, Juhannus (Midsummer) in June, and Festival Ruska in September. These festivals are the most well-established ethnic celebrations in the region and provide a family-friendly, casual setting in which Folk School students can learn while enjoying an immersion in Finnish-American culture.
The Finnish American Folk School, which is funded in part by a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, exemplifies the FAHC’s mission of preserving and promoting Finnish culture in North America. For further information, call (906) 487-7302 or visit www.finlandia.edu/fahc.
The Finnish American Folk School is possible because of the generous support of the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. Additional support comes from Finlandia Foundation National of Pasadena, Calif.; Kipinä Kerho (Finn Spark) of Washington, D.C.; and Suomi Seura of Helsinki, Finland. For further information, call (906) 487-7549 or visit www.finlandia.edu/fahc.