Daniel Medelplan (1657–1737) has a place in history as the author of the Finnish ABCs book. In the Greater Wrath era (1714–1721), there were no printing houses in Finland. There was a shortage of books suitable for those learning to read, and the clergy of Pälkäne ordered their own ABCs book from Medelplan. He carved the text of the 28-page book into wooden blocks, printed the books, and took care of pretty much everything else related to the production of these books. No copy of the Medelplan book of ABCs has survived to modern times. The last known copy was destroyed in the fire of Turku in 1827.
The private Daniel Medelplan Museum, opened in 2005, is at the birthplace of the wooden ABC Book of Pälkäne, in the village of Kukkola. The permanent exhibition narrates, through artefacts and text, the history of Medelplan’s ABCs, as well as of the printing profession. The changing ABC Book exhibition showcases rooster-themed books of ABCs, from several collectors. On the last page of the Medelplan ABC book was a picture of a rooster, probably the first ABC rooster to decorate the pages of a Finnish book of ABCs. The same rooster adorned the old crest of the town of Pälkäne.
A memorial to Medelplan can be found in the vicinity of the old Saint Michael’s Church of Pälkäne (now in ruins). A memorial stone has been erected in the museum yard. There is the Niitty-Seppälä shop, a summer market, and a café, as well as a bird watching tower near the museum. If you want to try an old village swing, you need look no further than the village of Kukkola.
Museum’s 10 Gems
Photos © Miia Hinnerichsen, Pirkanmaa Provincial Museum