Vaasa-born Karl Gustaf Wilhelm Hedman (1864-1931) was a doctor by profession, but he was also a dedicated collector of art and antiques. Hedman studied history and medicine at the Imperial Alexander University in Helsinki. He returned to his home town in 1895 as a doctor of medicine to take up the post of city physician, which he held until 1929.
Hedman started collecting antique items early on. They say that a silhouette of a relative that he had obtained as a souvenir awakened the young Hedman’s enthusiasm for collecting antiques and for genealogy. For his art collection activities Hedman used various intermediaries and consultants, of whom art dealer Gösta Stenman from Helsinki was the most important.
Hedman became a member of Ostrobothnia’s Historical Museum Association and was a key figure in the establishment of the museum in Vaasa. Hedman married Elin Hasselblatt (1877-1943) in 1897. The childless couple collected a remarkable collection of art and antiques, which they donated to the Hedman Foundation established by them in 1931. The Hedman collection’s art and items became the property of the City of Vaasa in 1998.
The top floor of the museum’s main building is called the Hedman Floor. In the 1920s, when the City of Vaasa had a new museum building erected in Marianpuisto park, Karl and Elin Hedman established their home on the upper floor, which also housed the couple’s art collection and cultural historical collections. Karl Hedman also held his medical practice on the same floor for a while.