Photo: Ilari Järvinen/Finnish Heritage Agency.

The National Museum of Finland documents

Recording the history of the future through contemporary documentation.

The National Museum of Finland also records the present, people’s everyday lives and social phenomena. This recording is done using contemporary documentation methods, i.e. interviews, photography and observation.

For example, in documenting the Finland 100 centenary year 2017, the focus was on the ways in which Finns and people living in Finland of different ages and backgrounds were celebrating the centenary. The things recorded included both official events and celebrations at home. The interviews conducted often ended up developing into discussions about topics other than the pre-defined themes. The discussions highlighted a number of topical issues, such as elderly care, the position of immigrants, employment and education, as a result of which the material provides insight not only into the centenary year, but Finnish society as a whole as well.

The photographic material of the Finland 100 project can be viewed in Finna and the kuvakokoelmat.fi online service.

Contemporary phenomena as items

Every year, the National Museum of Finland chooses a number of items representing contemporary phenomena to preserve. This process also includes documenting the phenomenon related to the item through methods such as interviews, as well as recording discussion about the phenomenon and the item in newspapers and online.

This rapid reaction method has been used to record phenomena such as Tom of Finland bedclothes, Octopus For A Preemie as well as official communications related to the summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump held in Helsinki on 16 July 2018 and material related to the demonstrations held in response to it.

Old and new projects

The National Museum of Finland has a long tradition as a recorder or everyday life, as the museum conducted dozens of ethnographic surveys in 1956–1995. The subjects of these surveys ranged from disappearing ways of life in rural areas and recording personal hygiene to holiday trips. In recent years, the museum’s documentation efforts have focused on topics such as occupational health and safety, urban farming, food cooperatives, the typical Finnish winter day, yoga as a hobby and youth fashion.

In 2018, the museum is focusing on the theme of plastic, under which it will document voluntary waste collection, the operation of a waste management plant and the persistence of plastic items in museum collections. A plastic-themed pop up exhibition is also being planned. Other current topics include the anniversary of the Finnish Civil War of 1918 and the #metoo phenomenon, which has shaken things up both in Finland and the rest of the word, and especially in the film industry.

For more information, please contact:

Sanna Teittinen, tel. +358 (0)295 33 6394, sanna.teittinen@kansallismuseo.fi

The contemporary documentation projects of the National Museum of Finland 1999–2018

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF FINLAND

2018, Documentation of the contemporary plastic phenomenon and related perspectives with the Picture Collections of the Finnish Heritage Agency 2018, Documentation of the shoe repair shop Jalkinekorjaamo Hasa (documentation of Finnish brick and mortar shops) with the Picture Collections of the Finnish Heritage Agency

2017–2018, Documentation of occupational health and safety at the Collections and Conservation Centre with the Picture Collections of the Finnish Heritage Agency, TAKO pool 4 (Manufacturing, services and working life)

2017, Documentation of the Finland 100 centenary year with the Picture Collections of the Finnish Heritage Agency (in collaboration with the University of Helsinki, Yrkesinstitut Prakticum and the Prime Minister’s Office)

2016, Kesäpiha (‘Summer Yard’) 2016 documentation, a documentation project conducted by an intern from the University of Jyväskylä focusing on urban farming 2015, #STOP – wage earners’ demonstration on 18 September 2015 at Helsinki Railway Square

2014, Documentation of the Herttoniemi food cooperative, TAKO pool 3 (Everyday life), photography funded by the Picture Collections

2011 and 2013, Nuorisomuoti tänään (‘Youth Fashion Today’) documentation project, TAKO pool 7 (Trends, influences and turning points), photography funded by the Picture Collections

2011, Suomalainen talvipäivä (‘Finnish Winter Day’) documentation project in collaboration with six other museums, TAKO pool 3 (Everyday life), photography funded by the Picture Collections

2010, Leipä Suomessa (‘Bread in Finland’) documentation as part of the trans-Nordic Leipä Pohjolassa (‘Bread in the North’) project, photography funded by the Picture Collections

THE MARITIME MUSEUM OF FINLAND

2015, J/M Voima crew interviews and work documentation in collaboration with the University of Helsinki’s maritime history study module

2010, Documentation of Mediterranean cruise tourism aboard M/S Kristina Regina in collaboration with Forum Marinum

2006, documentation of maritime work aboard Silja Serenade in collaboration with the University of Helsinki’s maritime history study module

2006, documentation of maritime work aboard M/S Arkadia

2004, Gts Finnjet crew interviews and photographic documentation

1999, Worker interviews and photographic documentation at the Hietalahti shipyard in Helsinki in collaboration with the University of Helsinki’s maritime history study module