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Collection maintenance

Kari Cavén’s work UHO (UHO 1) being cleaned. Tennis Palace. © HAM/Maija Toivanen

The City of Helsinki’s art collection has more than 500 public artworks from three centuries. HAM maintains the artworks together with the city’s Urban Environment Division. The aim is to keep the artworks in their original condition for as many future generations as possible. However, at times, a work may become irreparable and must be removed.

Maintaining public art includes conservation, technical reparations, cleaning and protective surfacing. We plan the artworks’ maintenance in advance and repair and conserve them systematically, but we also react to unexpected problems and vandalism as quickly as possible.

A damaged artwork? Inform us at

Havis Amanda being moved for conservation in May 2023. © HAM/Sonja Hyytiäinen

Sometimes, with the city’s growth and change, artworks must be relocated or placed in storage. The artworks are usually returned to their original locations or as close to the original location as possible.

The renovation of the Havis Amanda fountain and statue in 2023–2024 will be one of the most extensive renovation projects of public art ever implemented in Helsinki. Ville Vallgren’s work has been through a lot during various popular festivals, for example. The salty and windy maritime climate has also worn the statue’s surface. During the renovation, the old water basin and fountain system will be replaced and the square surrounding the fountain will be repaired.

Man Yau: Dear Souvenir, 2023 / Photo: HAM/Viljami Annanolli

When a public artwork is completed, it is added to the City of Helsinki’s art collection, which HAM accessions, administers and maintains. The accessioning process includes photographing the work, recording its details and documenting its history in HAM’s inventory system. The system is HAM’s central collection management tool with records of all artworks in Helsinki’s 10,000-item art collection.