Considering that the Sámi play an important role in both modern Norwegian life and Norwegian history, a better and more detailed knowledge of the cultural aspects of their everyday-life, their religion and their art is of great importance. Although Sámi people have gained a lot of acceptance in recent decades, they suffered a past dominated by discrimination, especially regarding their religion, art and language. Tromsø Museum staged an exhibition this summer (25.05 – 30.08), to increase awareness of the multifaceted Sámi culture.
The second floor of the museum is almost solely dedicated on the matter of giving the visitor an overall picture of the Sámi. The exhibition welcomes you with the “Sámi paragraph”, and together with interesting facts on the rebellion against oppression, traditional clothing is displayed. Furthermore, interviews with Sámi people can be watched. Another part of the exhibition focusses more on the historic development of the Sámi in the last hundreds of years.
The displays of various hunting items like traps and spears allow a better understanding of the well-developed hunting techniques, and slits and tacks for reindeers can be examined as well. Additionally, detailed replicates of the tents and houses of the Sámi can be explored. Different exhibits also show how the concepts of handicraft and art are tightly intertwined in Sámi culture.
Overall, the exhibition allows valuable insight into the Sámi culture and hence allows a deeper understanding of the life of the indigenous people from this region. Especially for myself as an international student, the visit of the Tromsø Museum was immensely enriching. Knowing more about the Sámi expanded my view on the different features of Norwegian culture.
Tromsø Museum also offers a permanent exhibition about the evolution of life on earth – especially in the northern hemisphere. Alongside an impressive skeleton of a northern bottlenose whale, the exhibition offers interesting facts about climate change and local flora and fauna. But, come and see for yourself! The Museum is free of charge for all UiT students, and is easily accessible by Bus (line 33 to Telegrafbukta).
Text: Cora Lisbeth Dieterich