We drive south through the finish forest until we reach the small town of Irani. Just outside the town is the best museum of Sami culture in Finland so we stop to have a look at this museum to see what it is like. It is good to go out and explore the area – the weather here in Finland is different from Norwegian weather. We have left the coastal climate to reach a more continental climate – and we can feel it. The temperature is higher than anything we had in Norway.
Museum is currently under reconstruction but it is still open so we can go and see what they got on display and in a couple of years the museums should be ready to move into a bigger building. I guess this will allow the museum to show their display in a better seating than the current one – but we found the museum quite good like it was so an upgrade can make it pretty impressive.
The museum consists of both an indoor museum with information of Sami culture and an outdoor museum – which was actually the most interesting part of the museum. Unlike the outdoor museums we had seen in Norway you probably couldn’t sneak in to this one for free so you will actually have to pay the admission at the museum even if you are only interested in the outdoor museum – which is worth it for sure.
We walk around and enjoy the indoor display for a while and read a bit about the Sami culture of Finland which is slightly different from the Norwegian Sami culture since they no longer has access to the northern shore of the ocean because of the national borders.
After a look around the insight we go to the outdoor museum which is a true gem of this place. There are a series of different old houses which shows you how people began to live a century or so ago – but the really interesting part is the old traditional Sami section of the museum.
The area has a very long history for the Sami population. The oldest evidence of people living in the area dates back ten thousand years to just after the ice started to recede from the Scandinavian icecap.
The Sami were pretty innovative to stay alive in this area with a short summer and a long cold winter. A little fun construction on the display is a bird nest the Sami provided for the local ducks. When a duck went into the nest the Sami would wait for it to lay its first couple of eggs. When the birds laid their third egg they would take this – and the birds would continue to lay an egg for about a month – so the Sami had a daily supply of eggs during the nesting season.
In the museum there were a lot of different traps on display. These were used to catch animals. Surprisingly the Sami hunted a lot of predators like, wolf, beers and wolverines. They were not hunting these animals for the meat – but these animals were the main hunters of reindeers so the Sami people wanted to keep the predator population low to protect their reindeer herds.
The traps on display are quite interesting and I haven’t really seen any traps like this before. But they seemed to be easy to build with just what could be found in the woods around you.