SAMU – Salo Historical Museum

Tvs and mobile phones

In the middle of Finland you find the city of Salo, the distance between Salo and Turku in the west is about 50 kilometres and to Helsinki in the east you have about 110 kilometres. Salo has about 53 000 inhabitants and many of them are working in the telecom industry. The telecom giant, Nokia, had their largest factory in the city up until 2015. The city has long been appreciated for its electronic industry. Salora, the tv brand, is an example founded by two inhabitants from Salo, and Nokia who closed their factory in Salo due to low profits but continued developing mobile phones in the city.


The museum

In a town where electronics has been the largest industry for such a long time, there is of course a lot of history. A history worth showing to everyone visiting the city. SAMU, Salo Historical Museum shows the developing of electronics over time. SAMU consists of nine different museums where Salo Electronics Museum is a piece of gold for those interested in electronic history. This museum is responsible for science and exhibitions surrounding the cultural heritage for the area.   

A collection of electronics and reference material

Since the beginning of the 90s the museum has collected, and stored electronics manufactured in the domestic industry as well as the foreign. These collections contain more than 10 000 different objects and more than 400 shelf metres of books and archive material. In the collection you can find radios from the 20s up until today, TVs, measuring equipment, computer screens, and of course mobile phones as well as regular telephones. The phone exhibition shows material from early 20th century up until today´s modern smartphones. In the literary section you can find schematics, product descriptions and brochures.   


Parts of the exhibition contains of the material heritage from the telecom giant Nokia. During the 80s and 90s, Nokia was one of the biggest in the mobile business. Many pioneering innovations came from the engineers at Nokia who played a large part in the development of the mobile network in the Nordic countries, called NMT, and also contributed to developing the digital GSM network. During the 90s the company quit everything but mobile phones where they were one of the three biggest manufacturers in the world. In the 21st century the company was hit by a large crisis due to misplaced investments that caused Nokia to lose in market value. To re-establish themselves in the mobile business they started a cooperation with Microsoft in 2011 where they implemented their system Microsoft Phone. The cooperation was a success. This led to Microsoft buying the mobile division from Nokia for 5.44 billion euro. This led to Nokia today is mostly working with networks and developing such.

Nokia n95 image via Flickr
Nokia n95 image via Flickr


The whole collection almost exclusively contains of donations; nothing has been bought. Everything from private persons giving their private items to large corporations donating their collections. The museum shall conduct research about the objects that are collected. The purpose of this is to collect information on how the objects were used and in what part of Finland or the world they were mostly used and where they were manufactured. This work is for all parts of SAMU, but mostly the museum showing electronics. The science tries to answer questions on design and development. A visit to SAMU will give lots of answers to people interested in electronics and its history.

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