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‘Sorokka’ hat from White Sea Karelia


Kainuu Museum has artefact and photograph collections, as well as museum archives and an archive library. The museum’s collections have mainly been gathered through donations. Kainuu Museum’s storage activities are strongly focused on recording the life and phenomena of its own region. The museum accepts and seeks material for its collections that has a connection to Kainuu, for example through manufacture or use, and that reflects everyday life in Kainuu through the decades.

Artefact collection

The museum began to collect artefacts immediately after the Kainuu Museum Association was founded in 1930. The Association assigned two scholarship students, Salomo Pulkkinen and Vietti Tolonen, the task of collecting objects from all over Kainuu. The museum’s collection of artefacts also grew in 1937, thanks to the home district expeditions made by the university students’ organisation known as the North Ostrobothnian Nation. In the beginning, the main emphasis in the accumulation of artefacts lay heavily in the peasant culture, such as old farming equipment.

When the responsibility for running the museum’s activities was transferred from the Kainuu Museum Association to the City in 1977, its artefact collection contained slightly over 3,000 examples. Today, the collection contains more than 21,000 artefacts. The artefact collections have also become more diverse over the last few decades, as material belonging to urban culture and recent decades has also been accumulated.

Archive collection

The museum’s archive collection consists, for example, of documents belonging to various associations, communities and private people. Today, the museum prefers to direct such document material to the Kainuu Local Heritage Archive, which operates in connection with the city archives and includes records concerning the entire Kainuu region acquired from both organisations and private people. However, the museum still keeps records, for example, of various kinds of printed matter (invitations, advertisements, etc.). Its archive collection also includes an archive library that has various old publications (books and small publications).

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Photo collection

Kainuu Museum’s photo collection consist of some 370,000 catalogued photographs, as well as material waiting to be catalogued. The pictures mainly consist of negatives, photographs, slides and digital photos from the 2000s. The collections also include filmed material. The pictures are being digitised, but the number of digitised photographs so far is only about 60,000.

The photo archives’ collection has been accumulated through the museum’s own documentation activities and numerous donations made by both private people and various organisations. The museum is happy to receive offers of photograph donations, but it only accepts material that meets its collection policy.

You can only explore the photo archives’ material at the archive by making an appointment beforehand. The museum charges an image provision and licensing fee in accordance with its price list.

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