Brylcreem takes you to Helsinki as it was in the 1950s
The photographs of the Brylcreem exhibition are full of memories and nostalgia: milk shops and nylon stockings, Brylcreem and leather jackets, the Olympics and Miss Universe Armi Kuusela.
The touching photographs of the exhibition Brylcreem bring Helsinki to life, as it was in the 1950s, where the shadow of war made way to a new age of optimism.
During the 1950s, Finns transitioned from post-war times to normal life. The new political situation was tense: Finns had to get used to living next to the great eastern neighbour, while Finland itself was also rife with conflicts, strikes and unrest.
Despite all this, Finland turned its sights towards the west, as a result of which, international relations picked up in the middle of the decade and western trade grew easier.
Helsinki began to grow rapidly as young people from the countryside moved into the city in search of better income. The new areas joined to Helsinki in 1946 filled up with residential blocks, which in turn filled up with children.
In the city centre, the new age was apparent in the modern buildings and new fashions. There were more and more cars on the city streets, though it was still not uncommon to encounter a horse-drawn carriage.
Rebuilding after the war required a vast amount of hard industrial work, but trade and services typical of an affluent society grew alongside.
Over the course of the decade, the quality of life also improved and people gained access to new commercial products that introduced some joy and even a bit of luxury to everyday life. People adopted new ways of spending their free time and youth culture became a noticeable phenomenon.
Photographs in the exhibition and in a book
The photographs of the Brylcreem exhibition have been chosen from the City Museum’s boundless image archive. Also on display are memories and album photographs from the residents of Helsinki, collected specifically for the exhibition.
The exhibition is supplemented by the Brylcreem book, which is the latest addition the City Museum’s range of popular photography books. The book includes an even more extensive collection of photographs from Helsinki in the 1950s, whilst also providing a look into conditions and life during that time period.
A 1950s hairdresser’s and the nostalgic Brylcreem
One of the rooms of the Hakasalmi Villa has been furnished into a 1950s hairdresser’s, with authentic period furniture. You can sit in an authentic hairdresser’s chair, browse magazines from the 50s, add a little dab of authentic Brylcreem to your hair and think about what kind of 1950s hairstyle would best suit you.
History of the museum building