Hakasalmi Villa was built in 1843 by the procurator and privy counsellor Carl Johan Walleen as a combined city and country residence. The architect was E.B. Lohrmann from Berlin. Two wings were added to the front of the main building in 1847, the north one served as a bakery and the south one as a greenhouse. The villa was surrounded by a large English garden.
The City of Helsinki leased the villa plot to Walleen for 50 years. The low, partly rocky sea-shore plot was formerly a pasture area. When the lease expired in 1896, the city bought the villa from Walleen’s step-daughter Aurora Karamzin, who, however, lived in the villa until her death in 1902.
The ground floor of the villa was leased to the State Historical Museum as exhibition premises between 1906 and 1911. The Helsinki City Museum started operating in the same space in 1911. The upper floor was occupied by the Applied Art Society until 1929, when the City Museum gained control of the whole building.