Västerbotten museum at Gammlia

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The museum is the main museum of the Swedish region of Västerbotten and it is located in the Gammlia museum area in the outskirts of Umeå. The museum is free to enter so we head inside – unfortunately we can only see a part of the museum since some strong rain a week ago had inflicted water damage on a large section of the museum.

Carvings from Alta

The museum is a bit of a mix of different items like so many other regional museums around the world. The most interesting section of the museum is the one telling the ancient history of not just Västerbotten but all of northern Scandinavia. It focuses on the ancient people who lived in the area as reindeer hunters when the ice cap started to disappear.

There are different ancient carvings on display – well it is replica of the originals. One section has carvings from Alta which we had the good fortune to visit during our summer holiday – so it was fun to see these carving again since they are the most important carvings of northern Scandinavia.

Hunting elk 5,000 years ago

Another carving is from Karelia where the Sami people also used to live. The carving is 5,000 years old and shows a scene of a local hunter on ski hunting an elk. There is marks from the ski pole where the skier put them down – and it shows how there is a different distance between the marks depending on whether the skier went uphill or downhill. The hunting story ends with the elk being killed by bow and arrow. The hunting of this elk is the oldest known scene of hunting elk anywhere in the world.

Other old display is of the traditional drums which has a lot of symbolic. Unlike many other museums there is a display with a translation of the different images on the drum so you can get an idea of what the pictures mean.

Other display at the museum is the usual strange collections of old stuff from the town which I find to be of limited interest.


    1. They are pretty cool. I found it particular interesting the figures on the 5,000 year old carvings were the same as the old drums from Sami tradition you have found from year 1,000. So the traditional figure expression seems to have remained the same for 4,000 years.

      Liked by 1 person

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