Tracks 2018

This year Hack4FI – Hack your heritage hackathon has seven tracks that represent different ways to approach and work with open digital cultural heritage materials. The purpose of these tracks is to provide a starting point, a theme and a framing for the hackathon participants.

Track 1: Sibelius and the Musical Matchbox (YLE, The Finnish National Gallery &  Finnish music hall of fame)

Track 2: Deep Dive into the History of Photography (The Finnish Museum of Photography)

Track 3: Environment, Culture and Change (Aalto University & Aalto University’s Archive and Registry Services)

Track 4: Wikidocumentaries – a wiki for small history (Open Knowledge Finland)

Track 5: Signe Brander’s Immersive Helsinki (The Helsinki City Museum)

Track 6: Rephotography – adding a new dimension to photographs (Wikimedia Finland & Ajapaik)

Track 7: Säkylä Time Machine (The National Archive)


Track 1: Sibelius and the Musical Matchbox 

Composer Jean Sibelius often had a matchbox in his pocket, filled with moss and needles. Sibelius opened the box and inhaled the scent whenever he wanted to get the feel of a forest, to hear the whisper of the trees and the birds.

The series of the trees (Cinq morceaux op. 75, 1914–1919) is one of Sibelius’ most
popular piano compositions. Nature was a great inspiration for the composer. For many compositions Sibelius  drew inspiration from the forest. Sibelius also had a sound-colour synesthesia. He experienced the specific colours in tones.

The most well-known of the miniature series is the the Spruce (1919), with dark harmonies and melancholy. It is one of Sibelius’ most played works.

We are looking for a digital and visual implementation for the temporary exhibition area of the soon to be open Music Museum Fame in Helsinki. The exhibition room could be filled with a mysterious singing forest with a soundscape formed by the wide selection of Yle’s recordings of Jean Sibelius’ piano composition Spruce. The forest and nature paintings of the Golden Age of Finnish Art provide the visual inspiration for the room. The art work like implementation will generate a comprehensive and multi-sensory experience for the museum visitors of all ages.

We want to know: How to combine knowledge and experiences? How the soundscape, the visual and the possible interactive elements can be added to the space? Can the augmented reality (AR) also be used? Please don’t forget Sibelius’ matchbox!

Yle Archives and the Finnish National Gallery will open their collections for creating the artwork.

Dataset 1: Six versions of Sibelius: Spruce
License: ©
Link: music available at the Hackathon

Dataset 2: Copyright free images from the Finnish National Gallery
License: CC0

Contact persons: Katri Henriksson katri.henriksson[a], Kirsi Kukkurainen kirsi.kukkurainen[a], Hanna-Leena Paloposki hanna-leena.paloposki[at]

Track 2: Deep Dive into the History of Photography

How to fit 2,5 million photos in 150 square meters?  What would you love to see or do in a Photo Museum? How would you like to experience the history of photography? How to set free a wild photography collection?

The Finnish Museum of Photography will undergo a renovation in 2019-2020. After, we will open a new Photography Museum, and want the museum collections to play a more central part in the museum space. From the front door to the bathrooms, from meeting rooms to exhibition space – only roof is the limit of how photographs from the collections can be part of the museum experience.

We would like the audience to have fun, get curious, learn, get new ideas about photography, the world and themselves, and feel empowered.

We invite you to create new ways to present and interact with the photographs. The end result can be an app, a visualization, a product or spatial solution or design. It can be digital or physical, preferably with a focus on something interactive. We can’t wait to see your great ideas!

Our collections include more than two million photographs. In addition to approximately 10,000 photographic works of art, the collections include magazine, advertising, fashion, documentary, portrait, vernacular, architectural, landscape and nature photographs. The 800 photos on our Flickr account are only a tiny fraction of the vast collection, but serve as an example of the great variety of the collections.

We encourage you to explore creative ways to credit the photographs you are using. Feel free to use our dataset in other tracks you are working on as well.


Nearly 600 photographs from the Museum’s collections:

  • The collection of Central Union of Consumer Co-operatives (KK) feature images of urbanisation, industrialisation and the emergence of consumer culture. The vantage point is that of the working class. We see work and workers move from villages to cities, from fields to assembly lines.
  • Helsinki street views in early summer mornings, photographed by I.K. Inha in 1908-1909
  • Finnish Landscape and tourist attractions in The Finnish Tourism Association’s collection.
  • Finnish agriculture photographed by I.K. Inha in 1899 as a commission for the World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle) in Paris in 1900. Including individual portraits of cows and bulls posing next to their owners.
  • Salon Strindberg: Studio portraits of the Finnish cultural elite in the early 20th century
  • Early curiosities: Daguerreotypes and Autochrome (early colour photographs)
  • Photos of Jean Sibelius and his surroundings in Ainola

License: CC0


Contact information:

Laura Gelmi, laura.gelmi[at], tel. 050 347 1475
Anni Wallenius, anni.wallenius[at], tel. 041 440 6387

Track 3: Environment, Culture and Change

This track, parted in two, looks at how culture shapes the environment. How can open cultural heritage data assist us to trace environmental change? Part 1 of the track takes a deeper look into some of the old buildings in Helsinki. What impact do our modern way of life have on the buildings, their surroundings and their insides? Part 2 looks at nature and how it is changing as our culture and our way of living changes.

PART 1: The Change in Built Environment. The life of a building in Helsinki

Since the year 1907 it was compulsory to prepare measurement drawings of a significant building as part of an architect’s education at University of Technology’s architecture, today Aalto University. A collection of about 5000 drawings now belongs to the Aalto University Archive collection. About 30 of them show buildings in Helsinki and many of them include detailed floor plans.

How did people live before and how do they live today? We want to challenge the participators to play with the idea of multiple generations in the same house. Are the buildings still standing or is an other building now on its place? Has the building changed in any way? Has the street changed? What about the insides of it? We like to encourage research and imagination to represent the same building or address in two or multiple different ways using measurement drawings, photographs and any data you can find.

Architecture measurement drawings in Aalto-Finna: All measurement drawings dated 1907-1919 are marked as Public Domain and are therefore free to use in any way.


PART 2: Tracing Environmental Change through Cultural Heritage

What evidences and memories in the form of images, text and statistics can be excavated from cultural archives that show transforming ecologies, exploitative land-use, endangered animals and damage to nature? How can these be linked together to form coherent and compelling narratives as aids to understanding our changing nature. Participants of this track will investigate open data in the Nordic-Baltic context, compile and link relevant digital assets to form new archives. The final output may be quantitative or qualitative as long as

together they present a meaningful way to understand environmental change, and thus also gain new insights to our changing world.

Contact: Samir Bhowmik, samir.bhowmik[at]

Track 4: Wikidocumentaries – a wiki for small history

Wikidocumentaries is becoming a platform for citizen historians. It brings together open images, articles and data and intertwines them with content from Wikimedia projects. Anyone can read the combined knowledge and make it better.

What would you like to use it for? Friend figures in historical social networks, create a choir for revolution songs or simulate a honeymoon from 100 years back?

We will host a workshop and a history therapy corner for all participants. If you represent a museum, pop in and let’s imagine what we could do with your materials. Wikidocumentaries can be a place for crowdsourcing everything. If you are a designer, researcher or a coder, we can brainstorm tools that people would like to use to dig into the historical sediments. You can spend 5 minutes, one hour or all the time with us. You are also welcome to co-host the workshop!

Everything recycled in Wikidocumentaries is openly licensed as well as open source. Contributions will be made openly available in Wikimedia and other open projects, where memory organisations can retrieve changes and additions to the content they manage.

Production notes:

License: CCO (data), CC BY 4.0 (text), CC BY-SA 4.0 or more open (media circulated in the project)

Contact information: Susanna Ånäs, susanna.anas[at]

Track 5: Signe Brander’s Immersive Helsinki

Next year, in 2019, we celebrate the 150th birthday of Helsinki City Museum’s best-known photographer Signe Brander (15 April 1869 – 17 May 1942).

We are rebuilding our Time Machine exhibition in 2019 (yes, again!), and have chosen Signe’s photos from the early 1900s as its key element.

Signe Brander used large size glass negatives, up to 18×24 centimeters in size, which offer amazing quality when digitized today. All her digitized photos are now available in high resolution under an open license.

Our challenges for the participants of Hack4FI 2018 are:

  • How can we bring Signe Brander’s photos to life in new, inspiring, interactive, and immersive ways? The solution can utilize new technologies, AR/VR/MR, but it can be anything.
  • We’d especially like to focus on Brander’s panoramic photos, which are freely available in high resolution and already stitched as complete views. What kind of opportunities for re-use do these panoramic views of Helsinki offer? Can we combine them with more recent views of the same places, or come up with completely new ways of presenting them to today’s audiences?
  • Could we combine Signe’s photos with other free cultural material, photos, stories, data, newspapers, maps, artworks, music, anything?
  • Or on a more conceptual level, how do Signe Brander’s personality or artistic choices show in her photos? What was it like to be a woman photographer in the early 1900s?

Dataset 1: Signe Brander’s panoramic photos of Helsinki from the early 20th century in full resolution. Includes small hand drawn maps that show the place and orientation of the image.
License: CC BY 4.0

Dataset 2: Over 63 000 photographs, digitised art, and objects from the collections of Helsinki City Museum.
License: CC BY 4.0

Contact persons:

Aki Pohjankyrö, aki.pohjankyro[a], tel. +358 40 3347020
Outi Putkonen, outi.putkonen[a], tel. +358 50 440 3943

Rephotography – adding a new dimension to photographs

The Wikimedia photo contest centered around cultural heritage, Wiki Loves Monuments, was organised in September. One part of the competition in Finland was to rephotograph places depicted in historical photographs from Finna with mobile phone app Ajapaik. With this, we were experimenting on how to give an interesting way to explore and geotag old photos from open repositories. Hack4fi is a good opportunity to review the photos and experiences we had and to improve the process of rephotographing further.

We are looking for ideas on what kind of interesting information could be shown to the viewer exploring the photos taken nearby. We are also interested in experimenting with gamification to make crowdsourcing tasks rewarding. We would also like to see how you would use rephotographs and what kind of interface is needed for sharing the historical photos or rephotographed pairs of photos, locations or visualising the change in environment to one’s friends.

We can provide the technical support and implementation for the ideas, and if any team wants to use Ajapaik in other tracks, we will gladly help them out.

Dataset: Currently geotagged free images from Finna in Ajapaik
License: CC0 (data) Creative Commos (photos) MIT licence (code)

Software: Ajapaik Android app
Source code: 

Contact persons:
Kimmo Virtanen kimmo.virtanen[a]
Vahur Puik vahur[a]

Säkylä Time Machine

How can cultural heritage be used to exemplify change and stability in local environment? What can we do to help local communities to experience them in their everyday surroundings?

The ongoing European project Community as Opportunity (CO:OP), local history project Säkylän historiaa – pankaas kattoen! and the National Archives of Finland want to invite you to a stroll into the past and present of Säkylä and see what we can achieve.

Säkylä is a Western Finland town of some 7000 inhabitants. It has a very unique history which is filled with events and interesting stories. The traces of history are still visible and when you walk around in the town you might come across with mill stones and tar pits or an old boathouse.

We don’t want to interfere in any way with your work or ideas but at the event there will be participants from Säkylä who you can turn to if you want to sound your ideas or knowledge of local circumstances is needed. Also, if your output somehow addresses the intended Time Machine FET Flagship project ( or the Venice Time Machine ( the National Archives would like to refer to your work on European level in the future planning of the Time Machine FET Flagship project.

Travel into Säkylä’s history might start best with these online materials:

Pictures and documents:
Privately owned pictures and documents at Säkylä’s Topotheque (
Säkylä’s material at (

Person registers
Säkylä Parish Archives at the Digital Archives (

Säkylä’s maps from 18th to 20th Century at the National Archive’s Digital Archive (
Säkylä’s printed maps from 20th Century by the National Land Survey of Finland

Please see also:
Search in Finna and Digital Archives with a keyword Säkylä to find other Säkylä-related material


Any other projects are also welcome! Please also note that the participants don’t need to restrict their concepts and projects to only one track.

Each track has at least one facilitator who leads the process during the hackathon weekend.
You can access the full information of the tracks in this document.