Siida’s permanent exhibition tells about the interaction between nature, man and culture in the Sámi

Our permanent exhibition links Sámi culture and northern nature to one another forming one whole, which offers a vivid and visual experience as well as an abundance of information. The Sámi Museum and the Nature Centre have worked together to produce the permanent exhibition.

The exhibition has two parts: the introductory exhibition, which includes information on the area’s past and helps visitors understand the area’s present, and the main exhibition, which has interwoven sections on Northern Lapland’s nature and the Sámi culture. The exhibition’s themes are survival strategies in extreme northern conditions as well as how the ethnicity and modern identity of the Sámi have come about. The purpose of this exhibition entity is to showcase the interaction of nature, man and culture in the Sámi Homeland. Our objective is not to give visitors a detailed lesson, but to allow them to sense and feel what it is to be Sámi and the spirit of the Sámi Homeland.

Introductory exhibition

Our introductory exhibition tells about Sámi history, the area’s natural history and events that have impacted mankind in the form of a timeline from the Ice Age to 1998, when the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida opened. Visitors to the exhibition can also learn how the Sámi languages are related to one another and whether they are threatened. Siida’s area and environment are protected under the Antiquities Act. A display case with archaeological finds shows artefacts which have been found on our grounds.

Main exhibition

In our main exhibition Lapland’s nature surrounds traditional culture. The outer sphere of the exhibition space includes 12 large nature photographs that express the changing of the seasons. Walking around the sphere, you will learn how animals and plants survive in arctic conditions. The exhibition is a multisensory experience, as every season has its own auditory and light landscape. In winter when the sun does not rise, also the exhibition is dark, in spring the melting snow brings about the sound of bubbling streams. Every month includes basic information on the climate as well as a search and learning assignment for children.

In the inner sphere, you will find out how Sámi life and their traditional culture are linked with nature’s yearly cycle. People and animals change into their winter wear at the same time. Man’s home and a bear’s home are displayed in the same spot on the outer and inner sphere. The ethnic awakening of the Sámi, their symbolic spring, is situated during the spring season in the yearly cycle. In addition to traditional Sámi culture, we also display modern Sámi culture, which has been placed at the centre of the exhibition space further from the nature section.

The display cases that section off the nature and cultural exhibitions spheres contain pieces that belong to both topic areas. Looking in from the outer sphere each display features a certain natural phenomenon, but when looking out from the raised centre the cultural perspective of each display is highlighted. There are windows between the nature and culture spheres, and when visitors peer through these they see new elements.