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Collections | FINNA

The general ethnography and Finno-Ugric collections of the Museum of Cultures have been digitised and made available to the public with the help of Finnish museums’ joint search portal FINNA, an appropriation from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the labour of in-house researchers. Collections of the Museum of Cultures available for browsing:


The famous Alaska collection of the general ethnography collections amounts to approximately 500 artefacts. Its collectors include Arvid Adolf Etholén, who worked for the Russian-American Company and was the Governor of Russian America before the mid-1800s, Uno Cygnaeus, who worked as a priest in Alaska, and mineralogist Henrik Johan Holmberg. The collections include clothes made from walrus intestines, the intestines of other sea mammals as well as bird and fur animal skins, wooden hunting hats, over 50 small walrus bone sculptures, seal harpoons and other hunting weapons. The artefact information is also available in English.


Salvation Army officer Edvard Rosenlund worked as a missionary in Dutch East India for a total of 25 years. The collection, which was collected in the 1920s, primarily contains barkcloth and other textiles, weapons, braid-work and ritual objects. Most of the artefacts are from Bora and Kulawi in Central Sulawesi.


The colourful skirts, blouses, shawls, belts and hairbands were collected by various collectors from the 1950s onwards. There are costume sets from speakers of different Mayan languages. Most of the artefacts are traditional female costumes; the male clothing has been Westernised, but the collection also includes a few male loincloths, trousers and shirts.


The collection was donated by textile artist Hanna Helena Perheentupa in 2005. She lived and worked in India between the 1960s and 1990s. The collection contains examples of India’s diverse textile traditions, including embroidery and appliqué works and fabrics patterned using various printing methods.


On a research trip in 1987, ethnologist Ildikó Lehtinen acquired a collection of costumes and jewellery from the Meadow Mari and Mountain Mari in the Mari El Republic and the Eastern Mari in Bashkortostan.


Over 300 items from the Russian materials have been opened online. Finnish ethnologists collected artefacts in Russian villages in East Karelia and by the White Sea in the first half of the 1900s. During the Continuation War, everyday objects from the Russian villages in Svir (Syväri in Finnish) were collected to demonstrate the preservation of craftsmanship. The Russian names of the artefacts, transliterated into the Latin alphabet, are also given.


The collection of clothes, blankets, jewellery, ceramics, music instruments, weapons and powder horns from Moroccan Arabs, Berbers and Jews was collected by an internationally acclaimed social anthropologist, Professor Edvard Westermarck, in 1898–1913.


The East Karelian artefacts are from the peak years of Karelian tourism in 1890–1910. They include items acquired by L. V. Pääkkönen (1892), photographer and cultural leader I. K. Inha (1894) and architects Yrjö Blomstedt, Victor Sucksdorff (1894), Jalmari Kekkonen, Uno Ullberg and Alarik Tavaststjerna (1910).


Ethnologists Theodor Schvindt (1882), Axel Olai Heikel (1903), U. T. Sirelius (1911) and Ilmari Manninen (1917) also contributed to the collection. Professor of Finno-Ugric linguistics Artturi Kannisto travelled in the lands of the Mansi people between Ural River and Ob River in 1901–1906. He made four collection trips and acquired shirts and accessories decorated with beading and needlework, for example. The collection also includes artefacts from Northern Mansi and Khanty peoples.


Ethnologist Axel Olai Heikel studied the folk buildings of the Mordvins and Mari in summer 1883. Heikel took a liking to the national costumes of the Mari, Mordvins and Udmurt, and acquired a number of them for the museum’s collections on his journeys in 1883–1886. On a trip in 1884, Heikel also collected national costumes from the neighbouring cultures of the Mari and Mordvins, the Turkish-speaking Chuvash people and Russian-speaking Meshchera people.