The Moomin franchise, a series of books, cartoons, and comics created by Swede-Finn artist Tove Jansson in 1945, has been phenomenally popular in Finland for decades and has expanded to include cafes, shops, and theme parks. Last month, the collection of Jansson’s Moomin artwork and artefacts was moved from its former location in the basement of the Tampere city library to its own museum and has already drawn in multitudes of fans from around the world.
The museum opened in Tampere Hall on June 18th 2017 with a grand opening party which included dance and puppet performances and was celebrated with 3,000 visitors. A significant number of the crowd had travelled all the way from Japan, the only country outside of Finland where the Moomins are the most beloved. This event will be followed up by an inaugural gala on August 9th.
The Moomin Museum is a collection made up of more than 2,000 pieces of artwork, which were originally donated to the Tampere Art Museum by Jansson and her partner Tuuliki Pietila in 1986. Some of the pieces are being put on display to the public for the first time.
One of the prime exhibits is the 2.5 meter tall Moomin house replica, a doll house style model lovingly constructed by Jansson and Pietila in the 1970s which took them over a year to make. Visitors can look into all of the rooms to see the thousands of miniature objects and all of the fine detail given to them. Other highlights of the collection are the very first Moomin cartoons Jansson drew for the satirical magazine Garm in the 1940s and her book illustrations for the Swedish editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Hobbit.
Like all good museums, this one will also include a gift shop and café which, like the similarly themed shops and cafes in Helsinki, will immerse visitors further with charming Moomin artwork and decorations. The museum will also include rotating temporary exhibits, the first of which titled ‘Tove Jansson and the Moomins’ will open on August 9th and examine the creative process Jansson used in creating the series and how the characters developed visually over the years.
This isn’t the only exhibit of Jansson’s artwork opening in 2017. Another is opening at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London in October, celebrating her life as an artist and her pre-Moomin artwork. It will be the first exhibit of her work ever held in London and many of the pictures included have not been displayed in the UK before.