The G A Serlachius Museum in Mantta, a town of about 7,000 people in West Finland, 90 km north-east of Tampere, depicts life in industrial communities in Finland from the mid-19th century to the present day. It shows how the small village of Mantta became a town at the centre of a huge forest industry. The latest interpretative techniques are used to explain how paper and other forest products were manufactured.
The founder of that industry was G A Serlachius (1830-1901) who built a pulp mill in Mantta in 1868. He subsequently established a saw mill, began to make cardboard, constructed a paper mill and acquired two further pulp mills. The business was not entirely prosperous in the 1890s, but it became a limited company and under the founder’s nephew, Gosta Serlachius (1876-1942) developed into one of Finland’s leading forest industry combines, producing timber, paper, cellulose pulp and roofing felt.
The museum is located in the White House, the company’s headquarters in Mantta that was completed in 1934 to the design of the architects Valter and Bertel Jung. It incorporated the most modern office technology, provided natural meeting points for employees, and was richly decorated with works of art that remain in the building. The White House ceased to be used as offices in 1986 following the merger of the G A Serlachius company, and was opened as a museum in 2003.