Finnish American Folk School

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

For information about upcoming Finnish American Folk School courses, click HERE



Finnish American Folk School news


  • In the Land of the Finndians and Tradition Bearers

    Finlandia University Gallery will present In the Land of the Finndians, an exhibit of photographs documenting the descendants of Finnish immigrants and Native Americans from the book by Katja Kettu, Meeri Koutaniemi, and Maria Seppälä. Also on display, Tradition Bearers, a collection of materials created during the Finnish American Folk School. This two-part exhibit will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American [...]

  • Finnish musical instrument maker Minna Hokka coming to area in June

    The Finnish American Folk School welcomes Finnish musical instrument maker Minna Hokka to the Copper Country this June as part of Juhannus 2019. She’ll be offering a slate of programming that will provide attendees with a unique skill set – and at an unbelievable price!

    Hokka, who’s invested much of her adult life into creating musical instruments from materials found in nature, will offer as many as nine unique courses during her two-week [...]

  • Festival Ruska bringing colorful Nordic culture to Copper Country

    Festival Ruska

    Every year, Mother Nature provides the Copper Country with one of the most awe-inspiring displays of fall color anywhere in the world.

    And at the same time as the leaves start turning, Finlandia University’s Finnish American Folk School provides an equally awesome lineup of cultural programming, this year featuring two remarkable artisans and a pair of Finnish-themed concerts.

    This year, events get under way on September 5 with a one-night-only performance by the up-and-coming Finnish band Steve ‘n’ [...]

  • Finnish band to spice up Juhannus

    Finland’s “spice girls” are bringing added flavor to the Copper Country this summer.

    The Finnish folk band Jepokryddona (“Spice of Jeppo”) will headline the area’s 2018 Juhannus celebration, performing the upbeat, lively tunes that represent the heritage of their part of Finland, and offer workshops in their region’s music tradition. Jepokryddona is a folk group made up of Swedish-speaking Finns who, for the most part, play traditional wedding music from Jeppo. Led by [...]

  • Heritage Center to launch Finnish American folk school

    “Although our region maintains a strong ethnic pride in its Finnish roots, the loss of language and traditional arts and crafts has left many among our residents very little onto which they can attach their ethnic identity.”

    So says Finnish American Heritage Center Director Jim Kurtti, and he’s doing something about it. He and his staff at Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center are spearheading an effort to establish a Finnish American Folk School in [...]

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) 487-7302 or visit


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