Maneesi from the War Museum is an exhibition space belonging to the War Museum, located on the Great Mustasaari in Suomenlinna, which was originally built as a Russian cannon depot in 1880-1881. Since 2012, Mani has hosted an exhibition from Autonomy to Atalanta, which presents the history of the Finnish War from the 19th century to the present day. The exhibition is dedicated to even earlier times of autonomy, but the main emphasis is on the Winter War and the War of Continuation. The building has served as a museum since 1989 and is visited by about 13,000 people per year.
The manege was built in Suomenlinna during the Russian period, in 1880-1881. The plans of the building were drawn up back in 1875, but they were abandoned and ended three years later according to the drawings of the architect Graifon. The same architect also designed the Suomenlinna beach barracks. The manege was built of bricks, the floor was clayed and the walls inside were plastered. However, the floor was restored to concrete in 1908. In addition to the large hall space, the entrance halls were designed for a manege near the end entrances, where heating stoves were installed. However, the stoves were later moved to the hall, where more chimneys were built for this purpose.
Russians used the riding hall mainly as a cannon depot, but there were also gymnastic stands for use by garrison soldiers. In the early 1890s, an orchestra room, a stage, women's and men's locker rooms were built at the end of the building. So the riding hall was suitable for many purposes, but there were never horses, despite its name.
After Finnish independence in 1917 Suomenlinna moved from Russia to Finland. Independence was soon followed by the Finnish Civil War, during and after which there was a red prison camp in Suomenlinna. However, the manege was used as a warehouse and workshop in 1918-1919. During the period of independence the Manege served as the main storage facility for the Navy, for example, and since 1974 - for the Military Museum. However, a cinema was also installed in the hall, and during the war basketball was played there.
After the military museum received government permission in 1975 to resume its exhibition activities, the Suomenlinna Manege was chosen as the exhibition area. The people of Suomenlinna initially had doubts about the plans, as they were afraid that the War Museum would occupy residential space: in addition to the expansion of the arena, the people feared that the Navy Museum, which was closed in the 1960s, would be restored on the island. However, this did not happen and the manege was renovated between 1986 and 1987, during which, for example, the heating stoves were dismantled and the floor was completely rebuilt.
Mani's exhibitions have changed over the years, and the current exhibition "Autonomy for Atalanta", which opened in 2012, presents the history of the Finnish War and the development of the Defence Forces, mainly from 1809 to the present day. Mani also held special exhibitions, such as the Vesikko 2011 exhibition.
From Autonomy to Atalanta, the exhibition is in the manege. It is divided into three sections, so if you look from the main door, you can read about the history of the Finnish War and the development of the army in chronological order from the left wall. On the right wall, on the other hand, there is a long glass window displaying military uniforms from the 19th century to the present day, and in the middle of the hall you can get acquainted with heavier equipment, of which the exhibition mainly consists.
The material varied from year to year depending on the exhibition, but the exhibitions always included, for example, the trench and the British Vickers-Armstrong light tank, which Finland received for its winter and war of continuation. Artefacts from several different weapons are currently on display: the air defense is represented by the German RMB 88-gauge anti-aircraft gun, 76K / 02 field artillery and the Navy, the Soviet T-46 Torpedo and the trawler captured by Somali pirates during the Atalanta operation in Ostrobothnia. The importance of service as part of the war is reflected in the equestrian field kitchen, American Ford V8 truck and lottery uniform.
One of the features of the exhibition is the Finnish torpedo boat S2, which was on the shipwreck twice. Originally it was located in Bdelnoye, Tsarist Russia, where in November 1917 there was a mine. Later the pipe was lifted from the sea and placed in the torpedo boat S2 of the independent Finnish fleet. However, this ship also sank at Reposaari as a result of a strong storm in October 1925. The pipe was raised from the sea the following year and moved to the collections of the War Museum in 1930.
The exhibition "From Autonomy to Atalanta" was closed on October 31, 2017.