Finland’s over 300 professionally managed museums contain a rich and diverse selection of cultural heritage collections and information resources. The Finnish Heritage Agency serves as a cultural heritage expert, a service provider, a developer of its field and an official authority. It accrues, manages and presents the national cultural heritage and stores, produces and disseminates information. The Finnish National Gallery, the National Museum of Finland and the Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS are national museums that guide the museums that operate under their auspices. Finland is also home to 16 national specialised museums, 22 regional museums and 16 regional art museums. The division of responsibility for professional preservation work, especially in the case of cultural history museums, is coordinated by the acquisitions, documentation and collection collaboration network TAKO. In addition to professionally managed museums, Finland is home to around 1,000 local museums and collections that are maintained by various associations, foundations, municipalities, corporations and private individuals.
According to museum statistics for 2016, the collections of professionally managed museums include over 50 million objects. These collections feature 5.5 million cultural heritage artefacts, of which 45% have been provided with descriptive metadata and 26% have been digitised. The art collections that are housed by museums include over 400,000 works of art. Of these, 90% include descriptive metadata and 72% have been digitised. The photography collections contain almost 22.8 million photographs in all, of which 16% have been provided with descriptive metadata and 13% have been digitised. Finnish museums house 38,000 objects of audiovisual material, of which 41% have been provided with descriptive metadata and 45% digitised. The museums also feature collections of natural science that include 21.7 million objects in total. Of these, 3.6% have been provided with descriptive metadata and 0.8% have been digitised. The description and digitising process is set to continue.
The Finna.fi service contains over one million digital objects from museums. Photographs comprise the majority of datasets available online, with digitised artefacts as the second-largest group. The number of materials from museums continues to increase in Finna as new museums join the service and the digitising process continues in the museums that are already part of Finna. Finna interface only for museum materials is also available at museot.finna.fi. Some of the museums have also made their materials available through their own services or through joint online services created in collaboration with other museums.
The Finnish Heritage Agency gathers information on cultural environments and their preservation. The largest single dataset is the register for archaeological sites, but information is also stored on built environments, world heritage sites and, for example, archaeological projects. The best way to access this information is via the cultural environment service portal.
An increasing number of museums have shared their materials through the Finna.fi service and elsewhere using a set of terms that enable their further use and reuse. The Finnish National Gallery has prepared a summary on the open data that it offers. The Finnish Heritage Agency’s open datasets are available on the Avoindata.fi website.