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The design of Siida's permanent exhibition

The structure and content of the permanent exhibition of Siida has been integrated into the space provided by the building. The fact that the permanent exhibition and the new building were designed at the same time made this possible. The permanent exhibition consists of an introductory and a main exhibition. Both exhibitions have been produced together by the Sámi Museum and Metsähallitus, and the visitor experiences the cultural and natural contents of the exhibition as one integrated whole.

The central idea of the main exhibition is based on the theory of human ecology and its views on the interdependency of nature and culture. The natural context of the Sámi way of life is shown by gigantic, impressive photographs that cover the outer walls of the exhibition hall. The photographs have been illuminated from behind and they show how the natural, the weather and the light conditions of Northern Lapland vary during the twelve months of the year. In these background photographs, smaller photographs and drawings, texts, dioramas and videos have been embedded. Each month presents basic information on the climate and includes an item for children to look for and experience.

Between the natural and cultural parts of the main exhibition, there is a zone of glass cases, which presents themes that are common to both parts of the exhibition. Seen from the outer part of the exhibition, the theme, or the display item, tells about a natural phenomenon, while seen from the inner part – the raised mid-floor – the same item is connected with the cultural narrative of the exhibition.

On the mid-floor, there are photographs that are embedded in the floor and illuminated from below. On them, installations depicting essential elements of the Sámi way of life have been erected. The exhibition hall is dim, and the brighter lights are directed at the display items of the exhibition. The natural light that comes from the long skylight of the building divides the room into summer and winter halves.

For the visitor, passing through the nature exhibition is almost like a real outdoor excursion, as well as a personal and even a surprising exploration. Photographs, drawings, artifacts and texts are complemented by a soundscape that describes the range of seasons and events in nature. The soundscape is recreated in a free rhythm and partly activated by the movements of the visitor. This way, a walk in the nature exhibition becomes an experience that appeals to many senses just like a walk in natural surroundings.

Many of the photographs of Siida‘s permanent exhibition have been taken especially for this exhibition according to detailed plans. A great number of experts, designers and companies have participated in the preparation of the exhibition.

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Sámi Museum
Phone +358 (0)400 898 212

Nature Centre, Metsähallitus
Phone +358 (0)206 39 7740