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Matias Aleksanteri Castrén in Siberia
3.12.2013 - 1.6.2014
|Joint exhibition of the Museum of Cultures and the Helsinki University Museum |
at the Helsinki University Museum
It is 200 years since the birth of the Finnish philologist M. A.
Castrén. Castrén conducted two research journeys to Siberia: 1841-1844
and 1845-1849. Although his aim was to prove that Finnish and the
Khanty, Mansi and Samoyedic languages were related, he had an open mind
to study other Siberian indigenous people's languages as well.
What does the Siberian language map look like today? The Kamassian
language is extinct, there are hundreds of speakers of Enets and
Nganasan, and Khanty, Mansi, Nenets and Selkup are endangered languages.
The exhibition produced by the Museum of Cultures and the Helsinki
University Museum takes a comparative look at Castrén's journeys and the
lives of Finno-Ugric peoples in the 1840s and today's research into and
language situation of Siberia.
Castrén was not only a language researcher. He also made notes on the
Siberian indigenous peoples' lifestyles, religion, folk poetry and even
geography. He obtained items for museum collections in Helsinki and St
Petersburg. It is also of interest that some of the Siberian items now
on display were also exhibited among the items of the University Museum
of History and Ethnography in the Arppeanum building inaugurated in
In addition, the building offers glimpses of Helsinki's cultural
history: the cast-iron staircase is one of the grandest in the Nordic
countries and exhibited in the Imperial Hall are not only the portraits
of the Russian Emperors but also the bronze bust of Alexander I. After
the To Siberia! exhibition all museum and exhibition functions
will cease in the building, and the University Museum will move to the
Helsinki University's main building in spring 2015. The Museum of
Culture is relocating to the National Museum's premises in 2014.
The Helsinki University Museum, The Arppeanum building, Snellmaninkatu 3
Tue-Fri 11-17, Sat-Sun 11-16, Mon closed
The Museum of Cultures / the National Museum of Finland, the Finno-Ugrian Society.
Ildikó Lehtinen, the Museum of Cultures / the National Museum of Finland
Sten Björkman, Pasi Hulkko, Kristiina Karinko, Heikki Kettunen, Ulla
Kostiainen, Ildikó Lehtinen, Jaana Tegelberg, Pia Vuorikoski
Lotta Jalava, Ildikó Lehtinen, Merja Salo, Florian Siegl
Mikko Pirinen, Nanni Vapaavuori