Beneath the ground floor of the Sibelius-museum lies one of the largest music archives in Finland. The name of the museum can be deceiving. A common misconception is that we only focus on archiving material about Jean Sibelius. In reality, only a few percent of the approximately 1500 metres of shelf space in our music archive are about Sibelius.
About 35 000 photographs of different persons, orchestras, choirs, song festivals etc. are stored in the Sibelius-museum archives. 90% of these are catalogued, and information about them can be found in Finna. Some of the pictures have also been digitized, and the digitized material is added to the database continuously.
Jean Sibelius -collection
The Sibelius Museum boasts a large collection (35 metres of shelf space) of archival material on Jean Sibelius. The collection is based on material bequeathed to Åbo Akademi by baron Axel Carpelan, a friend of Sibelius’s, which was deposited to the museum in the early 1930’s. Sibelius’s manuscripts, which belonged to writer Adolf Paul, were also acquired to the collection.
Nowadays the Sibelius collection consists of over 50 original Sibelius sheet music manuscripts and other handwritten material, about 3000 sheet music publications, concert programmes, as well as both Finnish and international press clippings and articles. There is also plenty of Sibelius related literature in various languages in the archives.
The manuscript collection consists mostly of Finnish composers’ sheet music manuscripts (28m of shelf space), old handwritten sheet music books (4,5m of shelf space) and correspondence (4m of shelf space). The composition manuscripts and handwritten sheet music books have been catalogued and can be found at the archival search service Finna.
The archive of the Musical Society in Turku
The Sibelius-museum also houses the archives of The Musical Society in Turku, founded in 1790. These include the old sheet music library (26m of shelf space) and historical documents (15m of shelf space). Sheet music printed before the year 1800 have been registered in the RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales) database and can also be found in Finna. The documents have also been catalogued in Finna.
We have about 18 000 recordings of various kinds in our collection. These include shellac and vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, open reel records, and even phonograph cylinders, the oldest of which date back to the year 1909. Most of the cylinders are folk music and dialect sample recordings from the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland, and Estonia. These were made by Otto Andersson and Alf Brenner. About 75% of the cylinders have been digitized, and the material is available for listening on CDs at the museum archives. About 90% of the recording collection materials have been catalogued and are available at Finna.
Printed sheet music
Printed sheet music is divided to Finnish (113m of shelf space) and foreign (160m of shelf space) collections. A small portion of the Finnish sheet music has been catalogued and can be found in Finna, but the majority of the collection is currently only traceable using the old card catalogue. The foreign sheet music has not been catalogued at all; they have been sorted by composer and ensemble.
Press clipping collection
The press clipping archive is a collection of music related clippings from Finnish newspapers and magazines. The collecting was most actively conducted from the 1980’s to the year 2018. The clippings have been sorted into three categories: People (85m of shelf space), municipality (77m of shelf space), or a particular subject, for example pop/rock (21m of shelf space), jazz, folk music, church music, music festivals, organisations, instruments etc. The clipping archive has not been catalogued.
The concert programme collection consists of programmes of various artists (7,5m of shelf space), Finnish choirs, orchestras and musical communities (19m of shelf space), and music festivals and fairs (6m of shelf space). The programmes have not been catalogued.
The poster collection has been catalogued and can be found in Finna.
We also house some private collections and documents of various organizations. These include personal archives and sheet music libraries among others. Some of these collections have been catalogued in Finna.
The Sibelius-museum library collection includes music literature in various languages and is mostly catalogued in Finna.