Museums Act (729/1992) outlines the objectives and functions of museum operations:
The object of museum work is to maintain and strengthen people's understanding of their culture, history and surroundings. Museums must promote the availability of information regarding cultural and natural heritage by recording and archiving material and visual cultural heritage for future generations; by practicing relevant research, teaching and disseminating information; and by exhibition and publication work.
The aim of museums is to foster public awareness towards society and cultural heritage. Museums are the nation's memory repositories together with archives and libraries. The backbone of a cultural history museum's operations are the items it collects.
There are 22 regional museums in Finland whose mission it is to promote and guide museum operations in their respective areas.
The Northern Ostrobothnia Museum is a regional museum, assigned by the Ministry of Education, and also a member of the Finnish Museums Association.
The Northern Ostrobothnia Museum's collections include around 74,000 objects and 500 other items (photographs, film negatives, post cards, etc.). The oldest items are from prehistoric times and the most recent ones from the 2000s. Museum collections grow through donations and acquisitions.
The foundation of museum work is the research done on items. The phase of work after which an object becomes a museum item is called cataloguing. In this phase, the object is registered a number and information on manufacture and use are recorded. Next, the item's physical dimensions are measured, it is photographed, and a written description of the item is made. In 2011, the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum transitioned from Antikvaria database software to WebMusketti.
Assessing the monetary value of items is not part of our work.
Storage of collections
After an item is documented, it is either stored or put on display. Various theme-based exhibitions allow items to be brought out of storage for people to see. A conservator assesses the condition of items to be put on display, and if necessary, performs conservation work on them.
A museum exhibition constructs and reconstructs the past. It therefore only presents a portrayal of the past, instead of an objective truth. Museums are science institutions and hence significant creators of our image of the past.
In addition to our permanent exhibition, the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum organizes several unique changing exhibitions each year.
Regional museum work
Part of our regional museum work is the guidance of local museums as well as municipal and private collections in the Northern Ostrobothnia region.