© Moomin Characters™ / © Gutsy Animations 2021
Moomins, the beloved fairytale creatures living in Moominvalley and created by Finnish author Tove Jansson, are the subject of a visiting exhibition at National Children’s Museum as of September. The upcoming exhibition, on loan from the world’s only Moomin Museum located in Tampere, Finland, showcases the universal values of the Moomins, such as equality, inclusion and respect for nature.
The exhibition, Moomin Animations – Thrills and Cuddles, which is brought to the United States by the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C., will open at National Children’s Museum on September 3, 2021, and will be on display inside the Visiting Exhibit Hall until January 9, 2022. This is the first time this exhibition travels abroad. It highlights the rich history of Moomin animations, which are based on the Moomin books and comic strips created by the renowned Finnish artist and author Tove Jansson (1914–2001). National Children’s Museum is a nationally recognized cultural and educational institution that serves children and families through science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) focused experiences
The Moomins are white and roundish fantastical characters with large snouts. The Moomin family and their friends live an adventurous life in the idyllic and peaceful Moominvalley.
“The Moomins always treat nature with respect and live in harmony with the environment. The Moomin values, such as compassion and open-mindedness, are current, independent of time and place, and more relevant than perhaps ever before. As we follow the stories of Moomintroll’s growth and encounters, we can learn more about our own humanity, relationships and emotions”, explains Roleff Kråkström, Managing Director of Moomin Characters.
Despite the exciting adventures in the Moomin animations and books, the thrills never grow too scary – the cozy warmth of the Moomin world will always make one feel safe and snug again.
Moomin animations from different decades and countries
In 60 years, numerous Moomin animations have been made around the world. The exhibition shows how the treasured stories have evolved from the very first Moomin film to premiere on TV, a German marionette animation film (1959), to the most recent, magnificent 3D animation series, Moominvalley (2019), created by the Finnish production company Gutsy Animations. The exhibition includes the best-known Moomin animation so far, the Finnish-Dutch-Japanese joint production Tales from Moominvalley (1990), which aired in over 120 countries. On display are also a Polish Moomin animation from 1977 and a Japanese animation from 1969 – the latter has aired only in Japan before being included in this exhibition.
© DIE MÜMINFAMILIE, 1959, Augsburger Puppenkiste / Hessischer Rundfunk
The exhibition presents digigraphs of Jansson’s original artwork and stills from the animations to show the differences and similarities between the original and new interpretations. The audience will be provided with possibilities for interaction and participation.
The legacy of Tove Jansson lives on, 20 years after her death
Generations of children around the world have grown up watching the characters of Moominvalley. In Finland, the home country of Tove Jansson, one of the animations has been on TV for nearly 30 consecutive years ever since it first aired in early 1990s.
MOOMIN (1990) © Moomin Characters™ / Animation © Dennis Livson and Kindernet Entertainment Ltd
“Tove Jansson is a Finnish icon. Her works, of which the Moomin books are best known, are beloved by many Finns and international audiences alike. The Moomins are gaining more and more attention also here in the U.S.”, notes Mikko Hautala, the Ambassador of Finland to the United States.
Jansson, one of the best-known Finnish artists, made a name for herself internationally as an author, illustrator, painter, cartoonist, and a comic strip artist. Her most famous legacy, however, is being the creator of the Moomins. After the first Moomin story published in 1945, Tove Jansson went on to write another eight books, four picture books and numerous comic strip stories about the Moomins. The friendliness, equality, and adventures of the Moomins continue to inspire new generations.
Whether or not you grew up with Moomins, in this exhibition you can simply let the stories carry you away – stories, which fascinate people of all ages. Moomin animations – Thrills and Cuddles is based on a 2019 exhibition produced by the Moomin Museum in Finland. The exhibition shown at National Children’s Museum this fall is co-produced by the Moomin Museum, the Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C., National Children’s Museum, Gutsy Animations Ltd and Moomin Characters Ltd.
The exhibition is supported by Finarte and Lovi Ltd.
Moomin Animations – Thrills and Cuddles
September 3, 2021–January 9, 2022
National Children’s Museum, Washington, D.C.
Museum Location: 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Inquiries about the exhibition:
Suvi Järvelä-Hagström, Head of Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Finland in Washington DC, suvi.jarvela-hagstrom(at)formin.fi
Minna Honkasalo, Producer, Moomin Museum, minna.honkasalo(at)tampere.fi