The oldest public museum collection in Finland is the coin and medal collection of the University of Helsinki, now kept in the Coin Cabinet of the National Museum of Finland. The history of this coin and medal collection goes back to Turku, home of the University´s predecessor, the Academy of Turku, until 1827. The collection was founded in 1761 when the coins and medals donated to the Academy were gathered into a numismatic cabinet. The collection survived the great fire of Turku in 1827 as the floors of the Academy collapsed and buried the coins and medals under the rubble. After the fire, the collection followed the Academy to Helsinki.
The oldest Finnish museum excluding the universities is the Museum of Raahe, opened to the public in 1862. It was established around the exotic artefacts brought by sailors from their travels. The museum´s main attraction is "the Old Gentleman", a diving suit from the 18th century, allegedly the oldest in the world.
Cultural and natural heritage preserved by Finnish museums today:
- over 5 million artefacts
- 388,000 works of art
- 17 million samples of natural history