Current and Topical

Peer-reviewed article in the Museum and Society magazine

“Somalis’ independent heritage work reminds us that, although museums are understood as the institution responsible for documenting cultural heritage, they are not the only –  or even the best – places for diaspora communities’ heritage projects. Our analyses make visible Somalis’ concern about their lack of skills in designing and marketing their exhibitions and other events. Museum professionals could also start building networks and learn from diaspora communities’ own cultural heritage projects outside museums”.

Our article “With and Beyond Museums: Cultural Heritage Work in the Somali Diaspora” (Anna Rastas & Ilona Niinikangas) was published in Museum and Society (vol 21, no 3, 2023). The article highlights also the community work that our museum has conducted with the Somalis residing in Finland.

Warm thanks to the editor-in-chief and tireless primus motor, docent Anna Rastas.

Welcome to the artistic part of the project “Narratives of Finland: Historical Culture, the Arts and Changing Nationality”!

This artistic part consists of the artworks of nine artists, selected by open call in 2022 and presented 2023 to 2024 in cooperation with Mannerheim Museum, Helinä Rautavaara Museum, Culture Centre Caisa, Gallen-Kallela Museum and Vantaa Art Museum Artsi.

The project “Narratives of Finland” explores what kind of national stories are produced for example in museums, schools or films, and by what means individuals can bind themselves into these stories in the creation of a shared national identity. Furthermore, the project is interested in asking who can identify with these stories and how cannot.

In an attempt at opening a broader social discourse, the project partners up with four museums and one cultural centre. In autumn 2022, an open call invited artists to propose artworks that tell their unique story of Finnishness. Bringing these artworks into the institutional context of the museums and cultural centre, we hope for an interaction between different stories, traditions and experiences. It is through this dialogue with new, not yet heard, forgotten or underrepresented stories that we want to contribute to the ongoing project which is that of the constant construction, deconstruction and reconstruction of the Finnish nation.

Suomen tarinat project website

Moving memories Learning platform

The results of the MOMEM project have produced a great pedagogical learning platform!

MOVING MEMORIES: Learning platform on transformations in the past of six European countries. Knowledge of history – of an individual or a country – opens the door to understanding.

The courses are free, no registration is necessary.

Finland’s contribution to the project is the articles Karelian refugees’ memories of resettlement and The immigration and reception of the first Somali refugees in Finland in the 1990s.

Read more: Moving Memories – Stories of Crises and Migration

Anthropological Act of the Year Award

Poster for the documentary A Hundred Year Journey.

The Finnish Anthropological Society awarded the Helinä Rautavaara Museum the Anthropological Act of the Year 2021 Award on March 30, 2022. As they said, ‘The operation of the Helinä Rautavaara Museum is an excellent example of how a versatile anthropological perspective and know-how can benefit museum work and become a part of the public debate and development.’

This award is a wonderful acknowledgement of more than 20 years of work,’ said Museum Director Ilona Niinikangas. ‘Museums have an important role to play in a changing world. We no longer just preserve the past, we are also part of building the future. Through our actions, we at the Helinä Rautavaara Museum want to show that a small ethnographic museum in Finland can be a bigger player than its size would suggest, and that we can respond to global challenges through anthropological expertise and museum work.’

A full statement from the Finnish Anthropological Society is available in Finnish at their website: Vuoden antropologinen teko 2021.