The Tracks of Animals exhibition introduces to Oulu region nature

Can you jump as high as a salmon or prey like a frog? The joint hands-on Tracks of Animals exhibition of the Tietomaa Science Centre and the University of Oulu allows you to play the role of an animal and have unique experiences.
Näyttelyn suonäkymä, jossa rahkamatto, pitkospuut ja esittelykohteet

The exhibition built on the second floor of Tietomaa leads visitors to the local nature as the exhibition path runs from urban nature to the coast of the sea and from the swamp to the forest. As the seasons change, the secrets of nearby nature and its fascinating species become familiar.

The starting points for the exhibition have been multisensory and experiential. Learning by doing and experimenting, and interacting play a key role. At the hands-on exhibition, the visitor can have experiences with all the senses.

​‘In the exhibition, you can also have experiences in the role of an animal, which is quite exceptional as an approach,’ says Anna Taskinen, Project Manager of the exhibition.

‘Combining natural science collections and the hands-on approach typical of science centres in the same exhibition on this scale is new. At the exhibition, visitors can take advantage of a wide range of skills and senses at the hands-on sites and, at the same time, admire the museum's collections from the smallest to the largest animals in the Finnish nature,’ Taskinen continues.

The animals on display come from the collections of the University of Oulu Zoological Museum. In addition to the animals that everyone is familiar with, there are also many animals on display that are rarely encountered in nature, let alone in close proximity.

No animals have been killed for the exhibition, but they have been found dead in other ways in nature. Some of the animals brought to the exhibition already existed in the museum's collections, while others have been filled for the exhibition by the museum's conservators.

The exhibition includes about 20 hands-on sites and plenty of information on nature presented in different ways. The exhibitions are located in environments with backgrounds and materials that describe the city's park, sea, swamp and forest. The exhibition also has a mascot, the stoat, which is the regional animal of North Ostrobothnia. Vikke the stoat also talks about nature in different exhibitions.

Continuation of co-operation between the Science Centre and the University

The exhibition project has made co-operation between Luuppi and the University of Oulu even closer. For years, there has been co-operation in the form of various lectures, learning workshops and camps. The Tracks of Animals is the first large-scale exhibition co-operation. Jonna Tamminen, Director of the Museum and Science Centre Luuppi, is satisfied with the successful project,

‘With the exhibition, the University's extensive expertise can easily be made visible, and we also want to increase this co-operation in our future exhibitions. The University has the latest researched knowledge, and we have the ability to make it into hands-on targets of interest to the public, so together we are more.’

The university is also satisfied with the good co-operation. In particular, the possibility for the public to see the collections of the Zoological Museum again is important.

‘The exhibition co-operation between the Tietomaa Science Centre and the University of Oulu has been pending since 2010. It is great that it will finally become concrete, and visitors will be able to familiarise themselves with the new hands-on exhibition in the accessible facilities. The exhibition is a complementary continuum for the University's environmental education work. The activities of the Zoological Museum in Linnanmaa will continue as its collections are available to researchers and students, and they will be further accumulated,’ explains Professor Jouni Aspi, Head of the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Oulu.

In the Tieteen lumoa (“the charm of science”) section of the exhibition, visitors can familiarise themselves with, among other things, biological research and scientific work at the University of Oulu, as well as examine the skeletons of animals and compete in a sports quiz.

"It is wonderful that in addition to scientific zoological museum activities, we can also continue Oulu's long tradition of animal exhibitions, which dates back to 1783. I believe that, at the exhibition the Tracks of Animals that is now opening in Tietomaa, the presentation of our animal collection will once again be renewed to meet the expectations of the public. I hope everyone and especially children and young people will get to know their own local nature through the exhibition, have experiences and learn new things,’ says Jouko Niinimäki, Rector of the University of Oulu.

The exhibition was funded by the City of Oulu, the University of Oulu and the Ministry of Education and Culture. Metsähallitus is a project partner.

Last updated: 3.3.2023