Sunrise in a Museum, yes. Do you think so? It occurred in the very beginning of a life-changing experience. After a long night of traveling by bus, I reached Lapland, Finland, by arriving in Rovaniemi, the Santa Claus hometown.
I’ll be talking about a surreal traveling experience. I have been to a seemingly impossible world, full of exotic experiences that actually exist. The mainstream travel experiences are oriented on places when travelers feel comfortable, but not necessarily happy. What’s the difference between the ideas of spending several days in December on a Mediterranean island and spending them in Lapland? In the first case you feel warm, comfortable, and probably you see interesting cultural attractions and monuments, that is fine. But in the second case, you get a life-changing experience. Museums are here, as valuable agents, to help you understanding some contexts and cultures.
After long hours of traveling to reach the astonishing distance between southern Finland and the heart of Lapland, Rovaniemi, we arrived in the city center at about 9.30am. On that day, the sunrise occurred at 11 am and the sunset at 1 pm, because yeah, it was a polar wintertime. So one hour and a half before sunrise we looked at a wonderful snowy landscape, decorated with Christmas trees, and we went downstairs to reach the entrance to the monumental building of Arktikum Museum. (image above)
The temperature outside was -16 at that moment. We entered quickly into the building, and it wasn’t heated too much – the temperature inside was about 16 above zero. However, it was completely fine to us.
This is the central hall, where the visit begins. We had a quick presentation, given by a person responsible for marketing. That’s the feeling – welcome to the Great Country of Arctic! In reality, in the beginning of your visit, you see a definition of the term “Arctic”, and you find information you always had some idea about – the lands of Arctic Circle are divided among eight different countries; some other regions in these countries might be slightly different than Arctic regions, while these polar areas of all the eight countries are much more similar to each other.
While this museum is quite large, I made a selection of the most fun moments you can have here.
Moments I had at the Arktikum
- Watching the simulation of polar lights, with explanations why they occur (I don’t have any picture of that, but you can imagine). There is also a long corridor (partially visible on a picture below in this article, built entirely in glass, which enables the polar lights observation, when the sky is clear, and the lights are strong.
Energy efficiency. After an interesting practice found in Helsinki, here I find another example how Finnish museums present environmental issues. There is even a game of figuring out why certain devices are more energy efficient than others.
Explaining polar days and polar nights. Although most of us understand this topic, it’s so fun to watch at the interactive device that shows you the Earth’s position in the summer and in the winter.
Waters, ice, snow and culture. I loved those simple wooden boats and wooden snowshoes. That’s all about the history of living in Lapland and Arctic lands. Yeah, this was just a beginning, because we had a deeper discovery about this topic later during this trip.
– Polar cold and wind simulator. It’s freezing inside, and we didn’t have our jacket with us at that moment! In my opinion, this place is great if you come here in the summertime because this way you learn what is the polar winter 🙂
Exhibition design is based on the forms of ice, anyway. Lots of stories are dedicated to taking care of climate. Local people in Lapland showed some optimism regarding the Paris Climate Deal. We felt a lot of positivity during this trip.
At the end of our visit it was 12pm, and there was a bit of very shy sun making little traces on the white fields of frozen lakes. This was a real sunrise museum visit, although not in usual sunrise hours. Otherwise it wouldn’t be possible, due to visiting hours practices by most museums 🙂
The Arktikum Museum, and the entire view about the Arctic lands is one of the 6 Amazing Discoveries in Finland. Follow us and get new, upcoming stories!