The first mentions of residents on Pentala Island date back to the 1750s. The Nyholm family arrived on the island as crofters in the 1850s. When summer villas became fashionable in the late 19th century, the Nyholms, like many other people living in the archipelago, started offering summer houses for rent. Due to this, several buildings constructed for rental purposes can be found on the estate.
Arvid Nyholm was one of Espoo’s last full-time fishermen. Life in the archipelago also required secondary occupations in addition to fishing. For example, the Nyholms had a cow and chickens as well as a large garden, whose flowers were sold at the Helsinki Market Square. After Arvid’s death, his widow Gurli lived on the estate as Pentala’s last year-round resident until 1986.
The main building of the Nyholm estate, Gurli’s house, was built in the 1920s. When the parents died, the estate was split between their son Arvid and daughter Elsa. Arvid lived on the fisherman’s estate with his wife Gurli (née Lönnberg). In the summer season, they rented out the two floors of the building to summer residents. After Arvid’s death in 1972, Gurli lived in the house alone.
The main building is now a home museum where time has stood still since Gurli Nyholm’s last summer, the summer of 1986. The furniture and belongings of the island’s last year-round resident have been brought back to the house. The building and its artefacts tell visitors about the eventful life of the couple who spent almost their whole life on the island. Gurli’s house was renovated in 2013.
The largest building in the museum area is Villa Rosengård, an Art Nouveau villa that the Nyholms had built for summer residents. Fishermen’s families often gained additional income by renting out buildings on their estate or purpose-built villas to summer residents. Rosengård was inherited in the 1930s by Arvid’s sister Elsa Nyholm.
Villa Rosengård is the information centre of the archipelago museum. The museum’s permanent exhibition, info desk and museum shop are located downstairs. There is a small meeting room upstairs.
The fisherman’s cottage
The fisherman’s cottage is the oldest building on the island, and its oldest logs are estimated to have been felled in 1791. Originally a low chimneyless house, it was raised to its current appearance in the 1820s. The cottage has four rooms. It used to serve as a year-round dwelling but has been rented out to summer residents at least from the early 20th century onwards.
Having retained its traditional appearance, the building has revealed interesting pieces of history upon closer inspection. During the early years of the building, the log wall was blackened by smoke floating near the ceiling. The logs were later plastered with clay and lime. On top of the logs, as many as 15 layers of wallpaper mainly from the 20th century have been found; the Nyholms wanted to provide their summer residents with a beautiful, fashionable summer dwelling.
The fisherman’s cottage was renovated in the 2000s. It serves as an exhibition and crafts demonstration space.
The shore building and jetty
Featuring a reed roof, the shore building was probably built in 1819. It was used for the storage of fishing nets, fishing equipment and other tools. The building was damaged by a fire in 1982. In 2008–2013, it was repaired and restored to its early 20th century appearance. Some of the building’s logs have been replaced to repair rot damage, and the roof has been restored as a reed roof on the basis of old photographs. In 2012, a traditional jetty was rebuilt next to the shore building, where a similar jetty had previously been located.
The shore building houses an exhibition on fishing as a livelihood.
Lilla Villan is a villa that was built for summer guests in 1936. It was rented by summer residents. Museum guests can use Lilla Villan as a breakroom and a place to eat.
Lill-Stugan and its outbuildings
Lill-Stugan was built in the early 20th century as a summer villa. Its use as a rental villa continued all the way to 2015. The building originally consisted of just one room but was expanded later. In summer 2018, Lill-Stugan is a summer café operated by the Paven archipelago restaurant.
The villa has its own outbuilding with a summer room as well as a ground cellar. Gurli and Arvid Nyholm lived in the summer room during the months in which the main building was rented out to summer residents. The woodshed and the outhouse also belonged to Gurli’s house.
The tile and concrete ground cellar will be renovated in the future to exhibit storage and preservation.
The cowshed and sauna
An old cowshed, which was located to the south-west of the main building of the Nyholm estate, was demolished in the 1930s. The new cowshed was built slightly further away from the sea making use of the old structural elements. Consisting of an animal shelter and a woodshed, the building received its final appearance in phases. The cowshed exhibits the important secondary occupations of a fisherman’s estate, such as animal husbandry and gardening.
Located next to the cowshed, the sauna building was built in Arvid and Gurli Nyholm’s time. The change in sauna habits and sauna use shows in the fact that the sauna is not located by the sea but on the inland side.