Finnish research on the ancient Near East has a long tradition, and the region has captivated scholars and explorers for a long time. The history of the ancient Near East and over a hundred years of research were presented in the "Exploring to Ancient Near East" exhibition, held in collaboration with the Ancient Near Eastern Empires Centre of Excellence at the University of Helsinki, the National Museum of Finland, and the Museum of Central Finland in 2022. In this virtual exhibition, you can explore the content of the exhibition in five different sections: Objects Tell Stories, Finnish Scholars and Explorers in the Middle East, Explore the Ancient Middle East!, Current Research and Education, and Photo Gallery.
The exhibition showcases the work of Finnish explorers and researchers who began their work in the 19th century, presenting their stories and the objects they brought back from their travels. The exhibition, displayed at the National Museum of Finland and the Museum of Central Finland, brought together for the first time objects from the Near East belonging to Finnish museum collections. Originally collected from a European research perspective, these objects not only tell the history of their original region but also shed light on how the Near East has been viewed in Europe. They also reflect the history of Finnish research on the Near East, starting from the 19th century.
The goal of the exhibition is to present not only the history of the region but also the history of Finnish research on the Near East, personal stories, current research, and key themes and challenges related to the cultural heritage of the region, such as ownership history, illicit trade of ancient artifacts, the impact of current land use and construction, as well as the traces left by wars and conflicts.