Religion of the past or living heritage?

Dissemination of knowledge on Sámi religion in museums in Northern Finland


  • Tiina Aikas University of Oulu



In recent years we have witnessed a growing contemporary use of Sámi offering places by various actors, for example tourists, the local population and contemporary pagans. Hence, sites that the heritage authorities and researchers have seen as belonging to the past have gained new relevance. Nevertheless, Sámi religion is often presented in museums in relation to history and prehistory. Sámi culture has been presented in museums and exhibitions since the nineteenth century. In pointing out that this long history of museum displays affects how Sámi culture is presented in contemporary museums, Nika Potinkara (2015:41) suggests that we can renew, comment on or question the old presentations. This article explores the representations of Sámi religion in four museums and exhibitions in Northern Finland, and will answer the following research question: How is Sámi religion presented and what kind of themes are present? Here museums are studied as arenas for the dissemination of results of knowledge production. What kind of image of Sámi religion do they share?



Author Biography

Tiina Aikas, University of Oulu

Department of Archaeology