What’s in our collections?

Our collections contain photos, artworks, books, archive material and other resources – in total, some 129,000 objects. Our resources are connected to the history of universities and scholarship, the University of Helsinki’s research, teaching, studying, student life and properties, as well as to individuals who have worked at or otherwise influenced the University. Our collections expand through donations, campus deposits and the museum’s own active efforts.


Our collections of objects include scientific research equipment, items associated with academic celebrations and student life, and furniture. Instruments and equipment employed in teaching and research have been moved to the museum collections from such disciplines as physics, chemistry, physiology, geology and astronomy. The museum also has a diverse collection of objects representing the history of healthcare, including medical equipment, furniture and dishes from various Finnish hospitals, and aids and equipment used in medicine, nursing, veterinary medicine and dentistry.

Works of art

The University art collections include Finland’s largest collection of portraits, the Galleria Academica, and other paintings, drawings and sculptures. Most of these works are displayed on University premises. For example, the works included in the historical sculpture collection, consisting of plaster casts of ancient sculptures, can be viewed in the Main Building. Some of the collections have been received as donations, whereas others have been acquired independently by the University. The collection of architectural plans comprises over 3,000 sketches of University buildings.


The photographic collections of the Helsinki University Museum Flame contain some 58,000 photos, of which half have been digitised. These photos offer a glimpse of the history of the University, including people, buildings, celebrations, student life, research and teaching. The museum’s extensive collection of photos associated with the history of healthcare is also popular with scholars.

Archival and library resources

The museum’s archival collections include resources on the history of medicine and hospitals and the history of craft teacher education. Our library contains a small amount of reference works on university history as well as literature on the history of medicine and healthcare. Most of the archival material on the University of Helsinki has been preserved in the University archives.