Nordic National Museums Strengthening Arctic Heritage

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Available online: https://pub.norden.org/temanord2020-514/ Abstract [en] Nordic national cultural history museums are linked with Arctic societies due to the shared heritage of substantial museum collections. We share concerns to re-vitalize, preserve and exchange knowledge on this heritage. Thanks to a grant from NMR's The Nordic region and its neighbors to the west the National Museum (DK) in partnership with the Museum of Cultural History (NO) in 2017-19 successfully executed the project Arctic heritage in Nordic museums. Strengthening Arctic efforts in Nordic national museums. This volume presents recommendations within the project's three major fields: 1) Intensified collaboration on digital strategies and heritage perspectives with Canadian Inuit organizations, 2) a comprehensive and critical analysis of digital databases of cultural institutions in the ABM sector, 3) the constitution of a feasible and sustainable Nordic Cross-Arctic Museum Network.




Curating practices of Arctic Collections in the Nordic Cultural History Museums have undergone dramatic changes in current years. We have experienced a renewed interest in the Arctic among the public, the international research communities and not least the Arctic source communities themselves.1 In this global era of decolonization, increasingly self-conscious Arctic populations are gaining more autonomy, and negotiations over Sámi, Inuit, and other indigenous identities are vivid all over the Arctic. Accordingly, the field of cultural heritage management has received intensified attention regarding both immaterial and material Arctic heritage. As the Arctic and Nordic regions share a long history of connectedness, Nordic museums today hold thousands of Arctic objects and rich archival documentation, and Nordic museum collections have now come to constitute important sources for indigenous interpretations of history, just as they are Nordic cultural heritage. In recent years Inuit and Sámi populations have reinterpreted their history and written their own versions in multiple formats. They are engaging in the revival of almost lost languages, and revitalizing customs, traditions and skills in handicrafts, hunting, fishing, sledging and more. They organize archaeological summer camps and recuperate knowledge about the land, the ancestors, mythologies and genealogies. Museum collections and curatorial knowledge serve as important resources in these processes.


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