Archives history

Finnish Heritage Agency has a special permit to keep its permanently stored archived materials in its own facilities, which is why the agency’s archives contain documents that have been collected since the 19th century. Older materials are also still actively used, for example by researchers in various fields and by officials of the Finnish Heritage Agency.

The permanent archive of the Finnish Heritage Agency is located in underground archive facilities completed in 2011 that meet the requirements set out in the regulation on archive facilities. With the adoption of the new facilities, materials have been collected in the permanent archive systematically and on a centralised basis, the agengy has invested in the consistent management of the materials, and the customer service of the archives was centralised in the customer service premises located on Sturenkatu.

Perceiving the context of each document and the key years that marked a change in the organisation’s history makes it easier to research the archived materials and recognise potential source materials.

The archives of the Finnish Heritage Agency for the most part hold materials collected since 1884. The first governmental body in Finland that oversaw the conservation of antiquities was the Archaeological Bureau, founded on 19 June 1884. In 1908, the bureau was renamed the State Archaeological Commission. The departmental division of the State Archaeological Commission into the Departments of Prehistory, History and Ethnology was confirmed in 1912. The State Archaeological Commission was reorganised into an actual board in 1920.

The National Museum of Finland’s origins date back to 1893, when the State Historical Museum was founded by combining several different cultural and historical museum collections and placing them in the care of the State Archaeological Commission. When the museum building opened to the public in 1916, the museum was officially named the National Museum of Finland.

Some changes were already made to the organisational structure in the 1960s. For example, the Bureau of Architectural History was founded in 1966. A more extensive organisational change was carried out in 1972, when the State Archaeological Commission was disbanded and the Finnish Heritage Agency was founded in its place. Finnish Heritage Agency was divided into four departments: the General Department, the Research Department (Bureau of Prehistory, Bureau of History, Bureau of Ethnology, Bureau of Maritime History), the Architectural History Department and the National Museum of Finland.

The organisation of the Finnish Heritage Agency was restructured in 1992. Among other things, this restructuring included replacing the previous College of Officials with the Board of Directors. In addition to the Board of Directors, the Finnish Heritage Agency also had the Special Session of Directors, which handled matters pertaining to export, for example. After the restructuring, the Finnish Heritage Agency comprised five departments: the Administration Department, the Department of Cultural History, the Archaeological Department, the Architectural History Department and the National Museum of Finland.

There have been several changes in the organisational structure of the Finnish Heritage Agency in the 2010s.