The University of Oulu Zoological Museum must be saved

Due to the new Finnish law regulating universities in Finland and due to general pressures of cost cutting and savings, universities and their activities struggle under constant change and cutbacks. An unfortunate consequence is the shutdown of the time-honored and respected University of Oulu Zoological Museum; or it is move to the facilities that are not design for this purpose, and that are not good for the general public.

The origin of the University of Oulu Zoological Museum goes back to 1700s when Johan Julin founded the first museum of any kind in Finland in Oulu. In 1923 Oulun luonnoystävien yhdistys (the Oulu Nature Friends Association) restarted the museum activities and later donated the collection to the new University of Oulu.

The special built facility for the museum was completed in 1984 in Linnanmaa (University of Oulu campus) including a 2-story space with a dome for showing the collection of flying birds. In 1990 the 57 meters long (187 feet long) diorama was completed by Heikki Kangasperko. Its wall paintings create a complete ecological environment together with the stuffed animals and flora from Northern Norway to Southern Finland. In these dioramas science and art meet in a unique manner.

The Museum with its annual over 30,000 visitors is an interesting place for both local people in Oulu metro area as well tourists. Taking this functional, magnificent and specially built facility for other use would mean - for example - destroying its unique diorama. This is poor planning and this is cultural scandal. The research collection can be moved if another facility can be located for this extensive collection - a facility that satisfies the many requirements of the museum for example sunlight free environment. The current plan is to destroy half of the collection.

We demand, that City of Oulu, University of Oulu, as well as Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt oy (owns the facility) and Oulun ammattikorkeakoulu with their owners found a solution that does not destroy the collection and where the current Museum Hall is kept as a collection for public. And a solution where Its possibilities as a tourist destination will be fully leveraged. The responsibility of cultural history belongs to everyone in Oulu. While this museum is in Oulu in Northern Finland, saving this unique display of Northern nature touches us all – as well as the generations after us.   

In Oulu 2.12.2016

Esa Aalto, FT, Oulun luonnonsuojeluyhdistyksen pj.
Esa Borén, biologian opettaja, Oulu
Ritva Kangasperko, Marketing Manager, USA
Jorma Luhta, luontokuvaaja, kirjailija, Oulu (Haukipudas)
Juha Markkola, biologi, Oulu
Erkki Pulliainen, prof.(emer.), valtiopäiväneuvos, Oulu
Anni Rapinoja, kuvataiteilija, Hailuoto
Risto Sulkava, Suomen luonnonsuojeluliiton puheenjohtaja, Keuruu
Risto Tornberg, eläinekologian dosentti, Oulu
Luonto-Liiton Pohjois-Suomen piiri ry.

Available until 31.5.2017