The Collection Exhibition Face to Face

Permanent exhibition

The Collection Exhibition is about Meetings

I always had a need to get into the group and join in, for me that was completely natural. That made me different from other researchers; I’m not studying people; I join in and live with them.

Helinä Rautavaara

The Collection Exhibition shows objects of art, ritual and everyday life that Helinä Rautavaara collected during her travels in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as objects and photographs acquired later by the Museum. The earliest objects are from Rautavaara’s travels in the 1950s, the later objects were donated to the Museum in 2014. 

Helinä Rautavaara was able to acquire objects by getting to know crafts people and merchants during her travels. Ritual objects are sometimes still needed at gatherings when people living far from their home country get together to celebrate traditional feasts.

The theme of the Collection Exhibition is Meetings. The exhibition sections have been curated jointly with representatives of communities from where the objects originated, and who now live in the greater Helsinki area.

Photo: Karri Anttila/ Lvngroom

Read more about Helinä Rautavaara in Finnish in a biography published on the Museum’s Issuu account: Elämänkertaopas (

Listen in Finnish to the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle’s programme Peukaloliisan matkassa (Travels with Thumbelina) – in the Yle series Matkakuume (Travel Fever) on the Museum’s Sound Cloud account.

Helinä Rautavaara wrote travel reports under the pen name Peukaloliisa (Thumbelina) for the magazine Seura. She called herself Thumbelina because she mostly travelled from one place to the next by hitchhiking.Yle’s Finnish language series Matkakuume takes listeners to North Africa, the Middle East, Ceylon and Nepal. Editor for the programme is Kai Ristola.

Learn more about objects in the collection

Kokoelmanäyttely Kasvokkain, suomeksi (PDF)

The Collection Exhibition Face to Face, in English (PDF)

Samlingsutställningen Ansikte mot ansikte, på svenska (PDF)

Photos: Karri Anttila / Lvngroom

See current exhibitions


From Zero to Hero

21.3.2024 - 2.2.2025