Antti Kukkonen Home Museum is situated in the main building of Kukkola farm.
Dean Antti Kukkonen was born in Kontiolahti on 3.10.1889. He graduated from upper secondary school in 1910 and was ordained as a priest in 1914. He worked as a priest in Tohmajärvi, Puumala and Parikkala. In 1919 he began to farm his old family farm Kukkola in Pielisensuu, which now belongs to the city of Joensuu.
His career as a statesman began in 1919 as a member of the parliament and lasted until the year 1945 and again from 1956 until 1962. He was a member of the government and worked as the second minister of education in 1925 and as the minister of education between 1927-1928, 1929-1930, 1931-1932, 1936-1937, 1940-41 and 1941-1943. He worked as a member of the parliament for 34 years and as a minister for about seven years. Since dean Antti Kukkonen was a member of the government during the Continuation War, he was accused in the war-responsibilty trials in Finland. He was convicted to two years of imprisonement in 1946.
In addition to his duties as a statesman, dean Antti Kukkonen was also active in dozens of national and regional organizations and businesses as a chairman or a member of the board. Especially close to his heart were, for example, The Regional Council of North Carelia where he worked as a
chairman of the board for 12 years and The Foundation of the Advancement of Karelian Culture where he worked as a chairman of the board of directors for 22 years.
Dean Antti Kukkonen was married to Elsa Kukkonen (maiden name Marttinen). They had four children: Katri in 1928, Pirkko in 1929, Irma in 1943 and Kirsti in 1946. Antti Kukkonen died on 14.2.1978.
Katri Kukkonen was born on the 7.2.1928 in Kukkola as the firstborn of Antti and Elsa Kukkonen. After Katri three more girls were born into the family. According to the younger sisters it was always self-evident in the family that Katri would eventually take over the farm. Former neighbours remember how Katri used to be in the cowshed wearing her own milking coat as a four-year-old. She liked to wear appropriate clothing even as a child and didn’t like bows or ruffles. During her schoolyears she was interested in horses and harness racing.
Katri Kukkonen graduated from upper secondary school in Joensuu in 1946. She started studying agriculture at the University of Helsinki, majored in animal science and graduated as an agronomist in 1950. She did her teacher training at the Järvenpää Agricultural Teacher Training School in 1958. Katri was also very interested in studying languages and participated in numerous language courses. In addition to her native language Finnish, Katri also used Swedish, English, German, Swahili and Portuguese during her working years. Katri Kukkonen’s main lifework was farming Kukkola farm and she liked to say that farmer was her profession. Katri took over Kukkola farm in 1958 and the farm was modernized under her leadership. In the beginning of the 1970s a change was made from producing milk into growing piglets, which was less labour-intensive. New technology, such as video surveillance, was also utilized. Student trainees worked on the farm regularly and Katri was able to instruct students from abroad as well thanks to her good language skills.
Katri Kukkonen also had time to work outside the farm, and here is a list of a few of her full-time employments:
– 1975-1978: As a farm manager in Tanzania for a development cooperation project between Finland and Tanzania
– 1979-1981: As a teacher of animal husbandry in Kitee and Siikasalmi
– 1981-1985: As acting principal and principal of Kitee Vocational School for Agriculture
-vv. 1988-89 Boanen maatalousyliopistossa Mosambikissa yhteispohjoismaisessa kehitysyhteistyöprojektissa maatalousopetuksen alkujärjestelyissä
– 1988-1989: As an organizer of agricultural education at the Institute of Agricultural Research of Boane in Mozambique for a Nordic development cooperation projects
After returning from Mozambique in October 1989 Katri Kukkonen worked actively on her farm right until her passing. During this time she showed interest in and offered support to the Finnish Red Cross reception center for asylum seekers and had very good relationships with both the personnel and the refugees who came from various countries.
Katri Kukkonen didn’t have a family of her own, and she died on 16.8.1991. Before her passing, she had bequeathed most of Kukkola Farm to The North Karelia Agricultural Foundation.
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