In North Karelia, as well as all over Finland, there are a lot of museums, both professionally maintained and several local museums maintained by friends of local history and culture.
Regional culture and history are on display in the North Karelian Museum, which was founded in the town of Joensuu in 1917. Besides its own collection, it contains the exhibition of the Museum of Ladoga Karelia founded in the town of Sortavala in 1883. This collection was included in the museum in 1950. The permanent exhibition "On the road in Karelia" will tell you about the past and present of the Karelian nation with everyday life and celebrations. The exhibition called On Ancient Paths tells you about the pre-history of North Karelia. If you are on your way to Sortavala, it is worth having a look at scale models and see what Sortavala looked like in the 18th and 19th centuries as well as in 1939.
There are other professionally maintained museums in North Karelia: the second largest open-air museum in Finland, the Pielinen Museum in Lieksa (almost 70 buildings), the museums of Ikola and Kötsi in Nurmes, the Mining Museum in Outokumpu and the Museum of Möhkö Ironworks in Ilomantsi. There are also small local cultural centers or museums in Eno, Rääkkylä, Kitee, Koli, Lieksa, Liperi, Tohmajärvi, Kesälahti, Juuka, Kiihtelysvaara, Polvijärvi and Tuupovaara.
A group of old peasant houses in Murtovaara as well as adjoining fields and memorial pine trees are a national treasure and have the museum status. Murtovaara is known to have had wooden houses and outbuildings ever since the 1840s but the more detailed information about them go back only to 1868. It represents agricultural landscapes from the period of slash and burn cultivation and peasant architecture since the time the Crown leased the land to tenant farmers. It is the only hillside homestead museum. The peasant houses and outbuildings of another open-air museum, Makkola situated in the village of Hattuvaara, Ilomantsi are also a cultural historical entity whose old-time farmyard has provided settings for several TV series and movies.
The Art Museum ONNI is situated in the former secondary school building for boys in Joensuu. Its versatile displays consist of valuable donated private collections, two of which were given to the museum by Olavi Turtiainen and Arla Cederberg serving the basis for founding the museum in 1962. The large collection of Professor Onni Okkonen significantly enlarged the display of the museum and finally gave the name Onni to the museum itself in 2012. In addition to these collections the museum has been presented with several other private collections later on.