Remembering and forgetting, discovering and cherishing. Engagements with material culture of war in Finnish Lapland

Eerika Koskinen, Suzie Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The Second World War left considerable material remains in Finnish Lapland, ranging from remnants of structures destroyed in the 1944–45 Lapland War, through to small artefacts connected to soldiers, prisoners of war and civilians. These material remains have variously been saved and cherished by survivors and their families, forgotten or disregarded as ‘war junk’, ‘discovered’ by hobbyists, amassed and exchanged by private collectors, and/or accessioned into official museum collections. These various processes represent engagements with material culture of war that take on various meanings and embodiments, depending on the different individuals and organizations involved.

We have conducted interviews with different individuals engaging with Lapland’s wartime history, and observed the treatment of material culture, for example through exhibitions (both public and private) or through personal meaning-making practices. While some objects become accessioned to state-sanctioned collections, others remain ‘officially’ unknown and unrecognized (although known – even exchanged – through private channels). We discuss how different values and practices of treating the material war heritage emerge, depending on the actors involved, reflecting and reconstructing the culture commemoration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnologia Fennica
Pages (from-to)28-54
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology

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