Siida Museum wins European award for repatriation of Sámi artefacts
By Ester Laiho | Photos: Siida/Rauno Koivunen
Siida – Sámi Museum and Nature Centre was built to educate visitors on Sami culture and to preserve, but also enliven, the legacy of Sámi people in Finland. They have showcased the history and culture of Finland’s Sámi and northern nature for over 20 years.
Siida opened its doors in June after renovations that included an expansion to house more artefacts and exhibitions. The expansion has made space for the exhibition Enâmeh Láá Mii Párnáh – These Lands Are Our Children, which brings together the topics of nature and culture. The name of the exhibition comes from the Inari Sámi poem written by Matti Morottaja, exploring the very same themes.
Outi Pieski, the art director of Enâmeh Láá Mii Párnáh – These Lands Are Our Children, has included the artists in the production of the exhibition to create a cohesive and immersive experience for visitors. Sámi culture is explained by exploring the presence of the past in today’s world, and by presenting contemporary works of Sámi artists and duojárs, Sámi craft experts.
Siida’s storytelling of the past was also enriched earlier in the year with 2,200 objects that were repatriated from the Finnish National Museum. It is this collaboration that has earned Siida and the Finnish National Museum the Europa Nostra Award in the Citizen Engagement and Awareness-raising category. The awarding panel stated: “It is an enormous accomplishment and an invaluable effort to preserve European cultural heritage.”
The repatriation project was aided by 300 Sámis who assisted the museum in identifying objects. “They had a very important role to play. They investigated artefacts that belonged to their families but also helped us identify and learn different craft methods in the process. We’re truly grateful for their input,” explains Minna Muurahainen, Siida’s head of sales and marketing.
Siida is situated in the town of Inari, 25 miles from Ivalo and 47 miles from Saariselkä, which makes it an excellent day-trip destination. The winter opening hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
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