For centuries, the Finns were told Finland’s history started when the peasant Lalli killed Bishop Henry on the frozen Lake Köyliö. But is there actually truth behind that story?
The exhibition ‘Otherland’, opening in the National Museum in Helsinki in the spring 2021, is an independent exhibition on its own but it also completes the otherwise updated permanent exhibition and has a connection to the other two parts of it, namely the Prehistory and the Story of Finland.
The Otherland exhibition depicts an era when Finland did not yet exist as a nation. Otherland describes how the idea of being Finnish was born – and how it was constructed. This exhibition is about people and changes, and it shows the region’s international and diverse past from the 11th century through the times of Swedish and Russian rule up to the early days of Finland’s independence. The exhibition focuses on three main aspects: Humanity, Faith and We as Part of the World.
Medieval sculptures of saints, magic charms used by seers, textiles by Momman Siina from Huittinen, Elias Lönnrot’s slippers, children’s toys and many other items tell us about humanity and faith in recognisable and fascinating ways. As opposed to the expression we are so often used to seeing, the exhibition views history and power from the perspective of an ordinary person. The familiar narrative is shown in a new light, and the unquestioned truth about Finland’s history is subjected to alternative interpretations.
The script of Otherland was carried out as a multidisciplinary collaboration: it is written by the author and theatre director Juha Hurme, Professor Tuomas Heikkilä and a host of researchers and experts from various fields.
Everything is in constant flux. Individuals rush from cradle to grave, the ground rises, waters carve new paths, flora and fauna change, humans shape the environment, communities change, nations are formed and changed, languages and faiths shift, knowledge gains ground, awareness changes, fashion changes. ~Juha Hurme, 2020