Located in Lapua, Cultural Centre Vanha Paukku is an art and cultural centre packed with character. The former cartridge factory was given a new lease of life as a home to the town library, museums, restaurants, boutiques and shops, including the Lapuan Kankurit factory outlet.
Rich culture and history
Standing proud on the banks of the Lapuanjoki, Cultural Centre Vanha Paukku is a lively haven of culture, arts and leisure, which offers residents and visitors alike plenty to see and do. The building’s history goes back a century.
Established in Lapua in 1923, the State Cartridge Factory was an important source of work locally. During the war, it played an important role in the nation’s war efforts as it produced ammunition used by Finnish soldiers on the frontlines. During the Winter War, up to a thousand people worked at the factory. After the war, the factory began manufacturing products for war preparations, including power transmission and conveyor chains. In addition to armed forces, the factory produced ammunition for sportspeople and hunters.
In 1976, one of the worst peacetime accidents in Finnish history took place at the factory: an explosion in the factory’s gunpowder loading room killed 40 employees. After the tragic event, factory operations were gradually transferred further away from the centre and the original factory premises became empty in the early 1990s. Lapua’s decision-makers saw the value of the historical area and decided to convert the premises to cultural and business use. This gave rise to Cultural Centre Vanha Paukku.
Vanha Paukku – a popular meeting place for locals
Today, the factory area can be called a second living room for locals, and for good reason. Situated in a beautiful spot by Lapuanjoki, the cultural centre houses Lapua Art Museum, Lapua city museums, the Patruuna Gallery, the Ostrobothnian Photographic Centre Gallery and a library. The local music institute, adult learning centre and art school offer a wide range of activities, complemented by a cinema and theatre that also operate on the premises.
In addition to the Lapuan Kankurit factory outlet, which sells high-quality linen products, visitors can enjoy the services of museum shop Paukun Taika, Café Patruuna and Restaurant Iso Prässi. In summer, Vanha Paukku serves as the starting point for guided river boat tours.
Theatre Lapua is one of the most active amateur theatres in Ostrobothnia, premiering 2–5 plays a year, from classics to musicals.
Art and local history at the museums
Lapua Art Museum, which also operates on the Vanha Paukku premises, holds three changing exhibitions a year, showcasing works by local and international artists alike.
Lapua Cartridge Factory Museum offers an introduction to the fascinating history of the factory, full of exciting events from failed bomb attacks to poisonings. The machines and equipment presented at the museum shed light not only on the operations of the factory but also on industrialisation in Finland.
The Lapua Movement exhibition Viimeistä piirtoa myöten (Every Last Mark) presents the history of this Finnish anti-communist movement. The exhibition showcases original objects and photographs from 1929–1944.
Established in 1900, the Pyhälahti photographic studio was one of Finland’s first rural studios and it operated in Lapua for 80 years. Pyhälahti Photographers’ Shop Museum presents a wide range of photographic equipment and pictures. In addition to portraits, the studio produced pictures of agricultural activities, landscapes, local events and day-to-day lives of local residents.
Best souvenirs from the boutiques
Round off your visit with a spot of shopping. The factory outlet of Lapuan Kankurit, known for its high-quality textiles, offers an opportunity to make real finds. Lapuan Kankurit has long traditions in producing linen and wool products, and its factory outlet stocks an excellent selection of household products and interior design fabrics. Museum Shop Paukun Taika also offers lovely souvenirs and presents for anyone who appreciates great craftmanship.
Enjoy your stay in Lapua!