Courage, Freedom, Love! Moomins 75

A large-scale exhibition celebrating the 75th anniversary of Tove Jansson's Moomins
National Museum of Finland, 14.8.2020 - 28.2.2021

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A forest that one walks through accompanied by critters. The bridge to Moominhouse. A tent. A hammock. A well in which one can see their future life partner. A campfire that can be stoked with prohibit-signs. Climbing ropes in the jungle corner. A cave that one can peek into. A floating, swinging theatre stage where you can perform. Seaside cliffs that you can climb. Boats you can row. Sheets of ice you can jump on. A snowbank you can rest on. This is how the Moomins 75 exhibition looks like, at least in the eyes of children. For adults, the exhibition opens up a world behind the Moom in stories, through Tove Jansson’s personal items, quotes, and biography.

The exhibit’s soundscape, lighting, scenery, subtitles as well as 40 small display cases guarantee a personal experience for all visitors. The exhibition’s head designer Alexander Reichstein experiences, for example, the first room’s dark atmosphere to correspond with the spirit of the first Moomin story, Moomins and the great flood, even though the trees have been borrowed from another Moomin picture book. Each exhibition room has a very special atmosphere and is a kind of collage based on different Moomins books and comics.

“I wanted to create an exhibition that I myself would have wanted to see as a child. We haven’t, however, forgotten about adults with whom children always visit the exhibition. In this exhibition, there are so-called “individual layers” for each of us, and everyone experiences the exhibition in their own way”, Alexander Reichstein says.

The exhibition is entirely based on Tove Jansson’s original Moomin works, but no original illustrations are seen in the exhibition. Tove's drawings and texts have been transferred to different media: animated, projected, printed, enlarged, or even became a hologram. What is displayed, though, is some of Tove Jansson’s personal items that help guide the visitor through Tove Jansson’s own life and experiences that acted as a huge source of inspiration to the Moom in stories.

The Moomins don’t look at the time, therefore it’s natural that the exhibition is to be experienced at your own pace and that time is spent in your own way. The big, immersive exhibition spaces invite you to play and explore while the showcases and the exhibition texts open up the way of thinking of the Moomins while also encouraging visitors to reflect on the values of their own life.

During the exhibition, visitors may find themselves pondering over the meanings of friendship, love, respect towards nature, longing for adventure, equality, tolerance, freedom or bravery. One should also keep in mind, how different the opinions of diverse inhabitants of the Moomin valley may be. Sirke Happonen, a real Moomin expert, has skilfully written exhibition texts, that open up new perspectives as to why the Moomin stories have enchanted generations one after another and how the Moomins and their values are constantly relevant.

“We often ponder which Moomin work is for children and which is for adults. But Tove was a master in combining these two worlds.We’ve strived to do the same with this exhibition. The world of Moomin works is enormously faceted and inspiring, playful and serious at the same time”, Sirke Happonen summarises.

Alexander Reichstein gives a final tip to potential visitors: “I recommend to explore the exhibition attentively, without hurry, because some elements and effects appear here and there just from time to time. For example, you should spend up to 15 minutes in the sea-room to meet all the creatures emerging from the animated sea watercolor painting of Tove Jansson”

(Text based on, photos by Alexander Reichstein and Milla Kallijärvi)

The project is designed to be a travelling one, with Alexander Reichstein responsible for the artistic implementation of it in any new space. The exhibition is property of the National Museum of Finland, contact persons in the museum are Minerva Keltanen (minerva.keltanen(et) and Aino-Maija Kaila (aino-maija.kaila(et)

Visual concept, exhibition architecture, graphic design: Alexander Reichstein
Exhibition team of the National Museum of Finland: Minerva Keltanen, Aino-Maija Kaila, Reijo Pasanen, Virpi Akolahti, Petri Luoma, Heikki Kettunen, Tuomas Vuo, Jari Valo
Expert on content, texts: Sirke Happonen
Images, comic strips and quotations: Tove Jansson ©Moomin Characters Oy Ltd
Lighting design: Heli Nikunen
AV technology and sounds: Carita Elko, Ilkka Pykäläinen
Entrance and exit music: Panu Aaltio
The magic crystal ball, northern lights: Nastya Dubroskaya, Sergei Karlov
Animation in crystal ball: Gutsy Oy
Other animations in exhibition: Tatyana Moshkova
Projection technology in the Sea Room: Kunstventures Oy
The Moominhouse, the floating theatre: Production Mill Hiili Oy
The bridge, climbing corner, magician’s hat, floating tree: Pågå Oy
Props: Mirja Partti, Jenny Villikka
Boats, raft: Martin Hackenberg
Islet, snowdrift: Pekko Ulmanen, Espoon Autosuojaus Oy
Prints and CNC cutting: Mainosopasteet Oy
Wall fabrics: Grano Oy
Carpets: Laattapiste
Electrical installations: Desel Oy Ab
Costumes: Elisaveta Gesenzwei, Evgenia Fiakinskaya
3D modeling: Varja Protassova
Objects: Tove Jansson’s atelier, Moomin Characters Oy Ltd and private collections, Helsinki University Museum
Dolls: Atelier Fauni, Signe Hammarsten Jansson, Leo Tykkyläinen, Japanese licenced products
Photographs: Per Olov Jansson, Eva Konikoff, Soile Tirilä
With thanks to: Salo Museum of Electronics, Åbo Akademis bibliotek, Postal Museum, The Finnish Institute in Saint Petersburg, Sophia Jansson, Hanna Ahlström, Riitta Perälä and many others

A guided tour by Alma Pöysti through the exhibition: