Museum of Northern Ostrobothnia donates its Sámi collection to the Sámi Museum Siida

The Museum of Northern Ostrobothnia is donating its Sámi objects to the Sámi Museum Siida.

The Sámi Museum Siida is the national museum with the responsibility for preserving the material and cultural heritage of Finland’s Sámi people. The Sámi objects in the Museum of Northern Ostrobothnia’s collections were mainly acquired between 1900 and the 1960s with the last ones added to the collections in the 1980s.

The first part of the donation, which includes the textile items of the collection, will be transferred to representatives of the Sámi museum in the collection facilities of the Museum of North Ostrobothnia on Tuesday, 16 January 2024.

– As the new collection and exhibition facilities of the Sámi Museum Siida are now completed, this seemed like a good time to donate the objects of Sámi origin back to the Sámi community, says Pasi Kovalainen, Director of Cultural heritage work at the Museum of Northern Ostrobothnia.

– The Sámi objects and their return have a profound meaning for the Sámi community. The donation is a significant addition to the oldest part of the Sámi Museum Siida’s collections. We thank the Museum of Northern Ostrobothnia for this important decision, says Taina Pieski, Siida’s Museum Director.

The collections of the Museum of North Ostrobothnia that include objects of Sámi origin date back to the early days of the only professionally run museum in Northern Finland. The objects were collected by Samuli Paulaharju (1875–1944), a folklorist and museum curator from Oulu. The collection was destroyed almost completely by two fires in the museum buildings in 1929 and 1940. After both fires, replacement items were collected in Lapland.

The collection of approximately 400 items now donated consists of Sámi textiles and utensils, including a goahti (traditional Sámi hut) and several sledges. The oldest items include a cheese mould from Enontekiö dating back to 1797 and rare crossbow stocks, the oldest of which dates back to 1730.

As a large part of the Sámi cultural heritage is still held by museums outside the Sámi region, the transfer of the collection is important for the Sámi community.

The Sámi material culture is both practical and beautiful in its diversity, and the museum objects contain a wealth of intangible knowledge about their manufacture and use. This knowledge is best preserved in Sápmi by the Sámi themselves. Through the study of artefacts, it is possible to revive the old craft traditions and techniques of the Sámi community, knowledge of materials and the vocabulary related to the production and use of the objects. The revitalisation processes are a form of communal and intergenerational transfer of learning and knowledge, and they contribute to the transmission of Sámi material and immaterial culture to future generations.

The transfer of Sámi collections to the Sámi Museum Siida over the past decade is a concrete demonstration of genuine cooperation between museums and the increased understanding of the importance of cultural heritage for the Sámi community.


For further information, please contact:
Pasi Kovalainen, Director of Cultural heritage work, tel. 044 7037151
Eija Konttijärvi, Chief Curator, tel. 044 7037184 and Maisa Lukkari, Curator, tel. 044 7037183
Taina Pieski, Museum Director, tel. 050 5351574 and Marjo-Riitta Rantamäki, Curator, tel. 040 571 5670

Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida broke visitor records in 2023

The Sámi Museum and Northern Lapland Nature Centra Siida had a little over 68 000 exhibition visitors in 2023. Visitor numbers are back to, and even past, pre-covid numbers.

The past year broke the previous exhibition visitor record from 2019 by about six percent. The increase from the previous year of 2022 was 33 %.

The automatic visitor counter at the main entrance ticked to a record breaking 138 000 visitors overall. This number includes Metsähallitus customer service, tourist info, restaurant Sarrit, and the museum shop Siida Shop’s customers in addition to the exhibition visitors.

Another record broken this year was the daily record of visitors, as in the autumn season we saw a day with over 850 exhibition visitors in a single day, the previous record was thus surpassed by over two hundred.

The overall normalization of the travel industry post-covid, as well as the attractive renewed main exhibition Enâmeh láá mii párnááh – These Lands are our Children, have clearly affected the rise of visitors. The renewed exhibition has now been seen by over 113 000 people since it’s opening June 1st, 2022.

– It is delightful to see that Siida has broken all previous visitor records. An exhibition curated by the Sámi themselves of their own culture clearly speaks to both outsiders as well as the Sámi community themselves, says Sámi Museum Siida’s director Taina Pieski.

– The exhibition also works as a unique lure to the northern Lapland nature. The overall visitor number tells us about the scale of the travel industry in the area. In addition to the exhibition experience there is a need to receive diverse services and specified information about the nature and how and where to travel in it, all under one roof, says Recreational Amenity Specialist Tarja Tuovinen from Metsähallitus.

About 42% of all visitors came from outside of Finland, the ratio between Finnish and foreign visitors is moving closer to pre-covid level each year. Most of the foreign visitors were from Germany and France, but Hong Kong and Australia have now risen in the statistics as well, after a few years absence.

The number of guided tours has skyrocketed since the opening of the new main exhibition. In 2023 there were 400 guided tours, in five different languages, when the previous record from 2019 is 292 guided tours.

Sámi Museum’s Skolt Sámi Heritage House in Sevettijärvi had an overall of 1311 visitors in 2023. The Heritage House was open from June 20th until September 23rd (Tue-Sat, 10-16). The busiest season at the Heritage House was the autumn season with 30% of the whole year’s visitors.

Sámi Museum Siida’s exhibition renewal is a decolonial act

The doctoral dissertation that Sámi researcher Áile Aikio has submitted to the University of Lapland deals with the Sámi museum and the Sámification of the museum. Aikio’s dissertation The Sámi Museum? A Research on the Ontological Politics of Sámi Cultural Heritage will be examined at the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida in Inari on Friday, December 8, 2023.

In her dissertation, Aikio finds that the Sámi cultural part of Siida’s main exhibition and its creation process are a unique act of decolonisation as well as an effort of the museum to build up a more Sámi way of performing museum work.

– We are very happy that the communal way of working chosen by the Museum as regards presenting Sámi culture to visitors shows both in the exhibition and its interpretation. The Sámi Museum Siida has the promotion of decolonisation as its central objective. We are pleased that Áile Aikio’s doctoral research supports the guidelines chosen by the Sámi Museum, states Sámi Museum Siida’s Museum Director Taina Pieski.

According to Pieski, Aikio’s dissertation provides valuable information on the Sámification of the museum and on how to integrate indigenous views into museum work even to a greater extent.

– The Sámi Museum Siida congratulates and thanks Aikio for her dissertation, which serves the Sámi community and Sámi culture in a concrete way, Pieski says.

The joint permanent exhibition of the Sámi Museum and the Northern Lapland Nature Centre was renewed in connection with the extension and renovation of the Siida Building in 2020 – 2022.

Siida’s new main exhibition “Enâmeh láá mii párnááh – These lands are our children” got its name from a poem written by Inari Sámi Matti Morottaja in Inari Sámi. The name sums up the most important messages of the museum in the areas of nature and culture. The new exhibition was opened on June 1, 2022, and has had as many as 110 000 visitors so far.

When creating the part of the new exhibition that focuses on Sámi culture we widely involved the Sámi community. The exhibition became a result of cooperation between the Sámi Museum and the fields of Sámi research and Sámi art. The manuscript for the cultural part was produced by Professor of Sámi Culture Veli-Pekka Lehtola, while Visual Artist Outi Pieski was the Artistic Director of the exhibition. The practical realisation of the exibition renewal was the responsibility of a large working group appointed by the Sámi Museum.

The Sámi cultural contents of the exhibition reflect on how the past goes on living in us.

– We at the Sámi Museum aimed at creating a new exhibition from the points of view of Sámi themselves. We especially wanted to direct the exhibition to the Sámi, concentrating on how to tell our own narrative. We were sure that if we told the story well enough, visitors would also understand it – regardless of their cultural backgrounds. On the basis of our visitor feedback and Áile Aikio’s dissertation, we have succeeded well in Sámifying the exhibition, Professor Veli-Pekka Lehtola says.

In the renewal process, we developed a new Sámi exhibition language in a unique way by working through several working groups and workshops, engaging a number of museums, artists, craftmakers, researchers and curators in this work.

The renewal of the cultural part of Siida’s main exhibition was funded by Kone Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation and Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. The Sámi Museum also carried out the Interreg project Muittut, muitalusat – The Story of the Sámi by the Sámi – a project connected with the exhibition renewal, financed nationally by the Regional Council of Lapland and coordinated by Researcher Eeva-Kristiina Nylander. The nature part of Siida’s main exhibition was created by Metsähallitus and financed by the State. Biologist Matti Mela was responsible for the manuscript of the nature part. Harri Koskinen from Friends of Industry Ltd was the main designer of Siida’s new exhibition.

The European Commission and Europa Nostra, a citizens’ movement for cultural heritage, granted an award to the Sámi Museum Siida and the National Museum of Finland for their repatriation of cultural heritage in 2021 in the category Citizens Engagement & Awareness-raising. According to the Award Jury, the repatriation of the Sámi Collection represents “an invaluable contribution to the safeguarding of European cultural heritage”.

Almost 300 Sámi participated in the different phases of the repatriation process. They studied objects that belonged to their families, examining their crafting techniques, and participated in the choosing of the repatriated artefacts that would be (and are at present) displayed in the main exhibition of the Sámi Museum and the Northern Lapland Nature Centre Siida.

Áile Aikio: Saamelainen museo? Tutkimus saamelaisen kulttuuriperinnön ontologisesta politiikasta. (“Sámi Museum? A Research on the Ontological Politics of Sámi Cultural Heritage”). University of Lapland.ákkáhallan-Sápmelaš-musea-lea-leahkimin-seammaáigásaččat-máŋgga-máilmmis/30362/77e7cbf7-b279-4905-84bc-b8648ec4579f

Further information:
Taina Pieski, Museum Director, tel. +358 50 5351574
Veli-Pekka Lehtola, Professor, tel. +358 40 578 0492

Siida’s New Exhibition Has Had Over 100 000 Visitors

Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida’s new joint main exhibition Enâmeh láá mii párnááh – These lands are our children was opened June 1st, 2022. Now in a little over a year, the exhibition has been seen by over 100 000 people!

We are very happy and touched by the positive reception of our new exhibition. The feedback we have received tells us our renewal has been successful.

Our new exhibition has been of interest to both local and travelers alike. A little less than half of the visitors have been Finnish. Most of our foreign visitors have been from Germany and France.

The overall number of visits to Siida is around 120 000 a year. This number includes also visits to Siida Shop, Metsähallitus’ customer service, Inari municipality tourist information, and restaurant Sarrit. In the previous record-breaking year, 2019, 64 000 people of the overall number of visitors visited the exhibitions. This year we are expecting the number of exhibition visitors to rise to well over 65 000, breaking the previous record.

Siida will be closed May 4th – 8th 2023, due to maintenance work

Our Enâmeh láá mii párnááh – These lands are our children exhibition is close to one year old now. The past year has been busy, as our exhibition has been seen by 65 000 visitors. Before the busy summer season, it is time for maintenance work in the joint permanent exhibition of Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida. At the same time we will do maintenance in the public areas.

Due to the maintenance Siida and restaurant Sarrit will be closed Thursday – Monday, May 4th – 8th 2023. We will be open again regularly from Tuesday May 9th onwards.

In celebration of the Sámi National Day, the Sámi Museum Siida opens its collection of traditional Sámi clothing in Finna

The launching of the collection provides an opportunity to study Sámi traditional clothing digitally no matter where you live.

The Sámi living in Finland wear five different Sámi attires depending on which family and area they come from. The collections of the Sámi Museum contain almost three hundred dresses from different areas and periods. The launching of the collection in the Finna Services provides an opportunity to study Sámi traditional clothing digitally no matter where you live. In the autumn of 2022 the attires were photographed anew, and details of the dresses can also be studied better now.

As an estimated 60 percent of the Finnish Sámi live outside the Finnish Sámi Area, the Museum also wants to be accessible to them. You can get more information on the dresses and the photographs on them from the Collection Services of the Sámi Museum. The photographs presented in Finna are not reproducable in print, and they have been licensed with the licence Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

The ten-year-old Finna Service is a combination of several search services and home to millions of items of cultural and academic materials in Finland. Hundreds of Finnish organisations such as archives, libraries and museums offer their unique contents in Finna. The Finna Service is kept up and developed by the National Library of Finland in cooperation with archives, libraries, museums and other partners. The Sámi Museum has its own Finna view at

The Sámi National Day in Siida also launches the ten-year anniversary of the Finna Service. During the day, Finna’s experts show the Finna search services to the public, giving guidance on their use.

“During the anniversary of Finna, we want to inspire people to have a look at millions of items of materials, so we are happy to be able to open this jubilee year with the launching of such an important collection. Starting the year with hundreds of Sámi dresses is also in order because we will be working on a North Sámi version of the Finna Services during the year”, Erkki Tolonen, Finna’s Head of Development, says.


Have a great Sámi National Day! Buori sámi álbmotbeaivvi!

Pyeri säämi aalmugpeivi! Šiõǥǥ saaʹmi meeʹrsažpeeiʹv!


Further information:

Sámi Museum Siida

Marjo-Riitta Rantamäki, Deputy Curator, tel. +358 40 5715670, marjo-riitta.rantamaki(at)



Erkki Tolonen, Head of Development, tel. +358 29 414 4588, erkki.tolonen(at)

The Renewed Siida Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Received 55 000 Exhibition Visitors in the Opening Year

Year 2022 was unpredictable, eventful, and busy, in regards to exhibition visitors in Siida Sámi Museum and Nature Centre, especially in the summer and autumn. According to statistics Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida had 55 143 exhibition visitors in 2022, which is close to the all time record.

Events around the world, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine, have affected the number of visitors in Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida. Notable about 2022 is also that for the first five months of the year the Siida-building was under renovations and renewal, during which visitors were only able to visit the Sámi Museum’s open-air museum. On the first of June the new joint permanent exhibition of Sámi Museum and Northern Lapland Nature Centre Enâmeh láá mii párnááh – These lands are our children, as well as the temporary exhibitions Oainnus – glimpse into Sámi visual art and Mu áiggis, du báikkis -In My Time, In Your Place, were opened. With the opening of the new main exhibition the number of visitors increased significantly.

Direct comparison, with previous years’ exhibition visitor numbers, is not possible. In 2020 and 2021 the visitor numbers are greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, and in 2019 Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida had a record breaking number of exhibition visitors (64 000). When compared to 2021, exhibition visitor numbers increased by 102 %. In comparison to the
record-breaking year 2019, there were 14 % less visitors. The busiest time of year was the summer season, as usual, when just in June-September there were 37 000 exhibition visitors, which is almost 70 % of whole years visitors.

Just under half of the exhibition visitors were Finnish, as the post-pandemic revival of international tourism has increased the number of international visitors in Siida Sámi Museum and Nature Centre closer to the pre-pandemic numbers. Most of the international visitors were from France (8,5 %) and Germany (8,4 %). These two nationalities have kept the top two spots for years. German tourists tend to visit more during the summer time, while the French favor the winter season.

The popularity of guided tours increased significantly in 2022, when there were 274 guided tours in six different languages. In the previous year there were just 45 guided tours. The increase is explained by the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, which has led to an increase in popularity of group travel. Guided tours are carried out in the joint main exhibition of Sámi Museum and Nature Centre as well as in the Sámi Museum’s open-air museum.

In the Sámi Museum’s Skolt Sámi Heritage House in Sevettijärvi, there were 635 visitors in 2022. The Heritage House is open only during the summer season and has free entry. The Heritage House and the Open-Air Museum on its grounds contain information on Skolt Sámi history and display the living and construction methods from two different eras.

Diverse art in the temporary exhibitions of the new Siida

The new and improved Siida‘s first temporary exhibitions are festive art exhibitions. Selected treasures of Sámi art collections as well as brand new paintings and lithographic works made with historical stone printing are on display. The temporary exhibitions of the Sámi Museum and the Northern Lapland Nature Centre Siida will open on Friday 3 June 2022. Come and experience some stunning and impressive art.



The Oainnus ‒ A View for Sámi Art exhibition is an interesting cross-section of Sámi art from the 1920s to the early 2000s. The works of art include graphics, paintings, copper plate engravings and embroidery as well as two mixed media pieces. The traditions of Sámi visual language date back thousands of years, to the rock art of a northern hunting people, and hundreds of years, to the symbolism of the Sámi drums. The Sámi arts and crafts, or duodji, provides visual art with its own nuances – as also do the continuous changes that take place in Sámi culture in the middle ground between the traditions of Sámi society and multicultural influences. In their work, contemporary Sámi artists are equally affected by the Western art education that they have received.


The Oainnus exhibition is based on the collection of the Sámi association Johtti Sápmelaččat (Jutaavat saamelaiset in Finnish), complemented with the Sámi Museum Siida’s own collection. The Oainnus exhibition has been curated by Veli-Pekka Lehtola, Professor of Sámi Culture.  “With this exhibition, we invite 100 years of Sámi art to join the celebration of new Siida,” says Veli‑Pekka Lehtola.


In My Time, In Your Place

The In My Time, In Your Place exhibition showcases the works of an artist from Nuorgam, Elina Länsman. In her work, the artist reflects on the relation with place and surroundings, in which the natural environment of the north and the reindeer herding culture have a strong presence. The works on exhibit are stories combining elements of the seen and the heard, the experienced and the imagined. The subjects of her work are drawn from the surrounding life, including the existential experience of the place and the crossroads of realities. The works are something between abstract and figurative art. They enable the viewer to wander in the worlds of the artworks from the viewpoint of their own experiences.


Elina Länsman’s works feature large paintings and stone lithographs. The complex colours and bold brush strokes of her oil paintings will make you think, whether you look at them from afar or at a close distance.  “Lithographs are created slowly by working the stone, one layer of colour at a time – it is the opposite of a fast lifestyle,” describes Elina Länsman.


The Oainnus exhibition produced by the Sámi Museum will be on display in Siida until 4 December 2022. The exhibition In my Time, In Your Place, organised by Northern Lapland Nature Centre, will be on display until 7 January 2023. Siida will be open during the summer season from 1 June to 30 September 2022 every day from 9 am to 6 pm. In the winter season, from 1 October 2022 onwards, Siida will be open from Mon to Sat, 10 am to 5 pm. Please note the exceptional opening hours on holidays, which you can check on Siida’s website at


Further information:

  • Project secretary Minna Lehtola, Sámi Museum, +358 40 570 8137, minna.lehtola(at)
  • Artist Elina Länsman, +358 44 526 1979, elinalansman(at)
  • Customer service in Sámi Museum Siida, +358 400 898 212, siida(at)

Sámi Museum and Northern Lapland Nature Centre Siida invites everyone to celebrate in the opening week

The opening of the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida’s exhibition Enâmeh láá mii párnááh – These lands are our children and the renovated Siida will be celebrated on Wednesday, 1 June 2022. On the inauguration day, Siida hosts an open house. Programmes connected with the new exhibition will be offered until Saturday, 4 June.

Siida’s massive extension and renovation project has been completed and we are busy building the new permanent exhibition. The new, grand Enâmeh láá mii párnááh – These lands are our children exhibition will be opened for the public on Wednesday, 1 June 2022. On the inauguration day, Siida hosts an open house from 10:00 to 16:00. During the day, visitors will be guided to the many themes of the exhibition by the experts and artists who were involved in creating the exhibition, and entertained by local musicians.

Invited groups will celebrate at Siida on Thursday, 2 June, and Friday, 3 June. The groups that have booked their visits in advance will be offered thematic programmes. Thursday will be a particularly lively day, with children and young people from all around Sápmi coming to celebrate the occasion. On Friday, senior citizens will arrive at Siida.

On Friday, 3 June, there will be a book release of Veli-Pekka Lehtola’s Entiset elävät meissä: Saamelaisten historiat ja Suomi (“The past lives in us: Sámi histories and Finland”) at Siida’s auditorium from 17:30 to 19:00. Lehtola is Professor of Sámi Culture at the Oulu University Giellagas Institute and has written the manuscript for the cultural part of the new permanent exhibition. The book release is open for everybody.

On Saturday, 4 June, the exhibition experts will tell about the exhibition and discuss it with the public. The last session of this programme will start at 15:00.

Siida will be open for the public throughout the week despite special theme days and invited groups visiting the house. All visitors are welcome to Siida.

Starting on 2 June, Siida will be open according to its summer opening hours: from 9:00 to 18:00 every day. A more detailed programme of the opening week, with updates, is available at and on social media. Siida’s museum shop SiidaShop serves the public in the renovated facilities during Siida’s opening hours and as an online store at There will be opening bargains and new products starting on 1 June. Restaurant Sarrit also serves the public in the opening week.


Further information:

Pia Nikula, Inauguration Coordinator, +358 40 621 2663, pia.nikula(at)