The village of Tappo is located in the southern part of the Kimito island, in the former municipality of Västanfjärd and within the Swedish-speaking coastal region of southern Finland. The villages and cultural landscapes of this territory are considered to have a unique character and are highly valued. The inhabitants have mainly been farmers, fishermen and sailors. Tappo village is located inland on the island – some four kilometres from the sea – and due to its good farmland, the villagers have traditionally dedicated themselves to agriculture, of which the old water mill is a historic remnant.
The water mill of Tappo is a rather small, modest timber structure. The current mill was built around the late 19th century, however there is evidence that older mills have existed on the same site since centuries. The mill has a large water wheel and is equipped with a pair of millstones. Next to the mill there is a stone dam, with wooden shutters and chutes to lead the water to the wheel. The surroundings of the structure, with the stream, dam and meadows form a beautiful traditional setting.
The mill used to be operational and was maintained by the elderly farmer Stig Sundahl, who lived on a nearby farm. Together with him, the Sagalund Museum arranged annual mill days, when the mill was put in operation and flour was ground. Unfortunately, Stig Sundahl passed away in 2017 and since then, the mill has fallen into disrepair. In addition, the mill has been damaged by trees falling over the building in the past winter.
The European Heritage Volunteers Project is aimed at making the mill usable again while improving the ecological and recreational values of its surroundings.
The interventions will mainly focus on the water mill. An exact plan of needed repairs will be elaborated during spring as the natural conditions will permit. The plan of interventions will be prepared by a heritage conservation professional, who will also operate as one of two technical instructors of the project.
A second task will be decicated to rehabilitation measures at the meadows surrounding the stream, likely mowing with scythes. An ecologist will assess the biological values of the dam and stream and recommend the necessary measures. Traditional cultural landscapes such as meadows and pastures are disappearing fast in Finland, which has had a distastrous effect on biological diversity.
Additionally the Tappo water mill with its surroundings is a heritage object which has remained undiscovered by the public. For this reason, the museum will organise a brainstorming workshop with the participants to come up with ideas on how the site can be made usable to the local community and visitors, as public usage will improve the conditions for maintaining it in the future.
During their stay in Tappo, the participants will be living at Stig Sundahl´s farm, which will provide part of the cultural context to the project. Stig Sundahl was a very old-fashioned man, even for his age. He kept his home farm pretty much as it had been since the 1930ies and lived with the same standard until he passed away in 2017. Living at Stig Sundahl’s farm will be a unique opportunity for the participants to experience the modest and rustic life in rural Finland, which can be in itself an interactive encounter with the region’s intangible heritage and a more sustainable way of living.
The project will take place from August, 15th, to August 28th, 2021 and is organised by the Sagalund Museum Foundation, in cooperation with European Heritage Volunteers.