Helinä Rautavaara Museum, Finland

G_0561 kuvaaja Vladimir Pohtokari

The Helinä Rautavaara Museum invites visitors to explore non-European cultures. Named after psychologist and experienced traveller Helinä Rautavaara (1928-1998), who collected the objects on display at the museum, it is maintained by the Helinä Rautavaara Ethnographic Museum Foundation. The foundation seeks to advance knowledge on non-European cultures. The museum specialises particularly in cross-cultural interaction and related phenomena.

With over 50,000 annual visits, the centre is the most visited ethnographic museum in Finland. In addition to its permanent collection, it organises 2-3 exhibitions and over 200 events per year.

Known for its innovative and active audience and community work, the Helinä Rautavaara Museum is actively involved in projects related to global education, cultural diversity and well-being. It has conducted a series of successful outreach programmes and community-curated exhibitions involving vulnerable groups. In 2008 it was a candidate for the European Museum of the Year Award for raising the public quality of its collection.

A private, publicly-funded museum, the institution was founded by the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Museum Association, the Anthropological Association of Finland and the City of Espoo in 1998. Together they form the Helinä Rautavaara Ethnographic Museum Foundation, which seeks to advance knowledge on non-European cultures.

Permanent Collections: The Helinä Rautavaara Museum collections consist of art, ritual and everyday objects from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The collection concerning Helinä Rautavaara’s personal life also includes objects from Europe. The collections contain over 3000 different artifacts and the main emphasis is on 20th-century African and Brazilian objects. The Helinä Rautavaara Museum has the largest collection of West African objects in Finland. Additionally the Museum has also a large collection of photographic and audiovisual material from Helinä Rautavaara’s travels.

Photo credits: Museokuva/Helinä Rautavaara Museum/Ari Karttunen

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