Recording modern times
Museums document the events and phenomena of today.
The Picture Collections of the Finnish Heritage Agency and the National Museum of Finland document the events and phenomena of today. Documentation is performed by conducting interviews, collecting materials and taking photos and videos. The aim for the collections and archives of museums is to support researching, understanding and explaining both history and the events and phenomena of today. Documentation is performed together with other museums and archives and active volunteers. Everyone must have the opportunity to be involved in defining the value of cultural heritage. This requires the cultural heritage sector to engage in open dialogue on what in our current society should be documented and preserved.
The Finnish Heritage Agency has documented exceptional times in society and different events and phenomena for decades. For example, the years of World War II and the depression in Finland in the 1990s were documented through photos, and at the end of the Finnish Civil War in 1918, a collection of several hundreds of items was gathered from Helsinki for the National Museum of Finland.
The documentation performed by museums now complements the efforts of other parties, such as newspapers and magazines, in describing our society and its events and phenomena. Our time is saturated with photos and videos, but what will be permanently stored for future generations? The key question regarding the collections of museums and archives centres around the presentation and coverage of historical sources. How extensively do they tell the story of our diverse and multifaceted history? In order to document an overall picture, the perspectives of different minorities and counter- and subcultures are paid more attention to than before.
The aim of the documentation performed by museums is to make visible events and phenomena of public interest and social value upon which the story of modern day is built. It is important to highlight events and phenomena that are in danger of remaining invisible and preserve them as part of our common history. This also allows museums to participate in public discussion about the values and attitudes of our time.
Materials related to the modern documentation performed by museums and archives are available online in the FINNA service at www.finna.fi.
Documentation of the Turkey out of Rojava demonstration in Helsinki on 19 October 2019 (cropped detail). Police using a taser at a demonstration against the Turkish military action in the autonomous Kurdish region. Photo: Hannu Häkkinen / Finnish Heritage Agency (HK8189:29)