• An immersive, interactive exhibition which explores the internationally-recognised stories of the Moomin family through the life of its author Tove Jansson
  • The first major UK exhibition on The Moomins
  • More than 40 items of archive material on display including original drawings, paintings and personal itemsmany to be shown in the UK for the first time
  • Featuring an audio narrative voiced by Sandi Toksvig and written by children’s author Laura Dockrill
  • A range of Moomin themed events to take place during Southbank Centre’s 2017 festival offering 16 December 2016 – 23 April 2017

Southbank Centre
@southbankcentre  #SCMoomins
Part of Nordic Matters 2017


The world of acclaimed Finnish author Tove Jansson (1914‐2001) and her famous creation Family Moomintroll is brought to life in a major new immersive, interactive exhibition Adventures in Moominland. From 16 December 2016, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall hosts the first major UK exhibition exploring the internationally renowned and beloved stories of the Moomins, presenting new insights into Tove Jansson’s life and the influences behind her work with rare archive objects and illustrations built into the experience.


Using significant archive materials on loan from Moomin Characters Ltd, Helsinki and Tampere Art Museum, the exhibition will display objects never-before exhibited in the UK: from original illustration;, artworks and 3D models; to letters and personal items from Tove’s studio in Helsinki and her family island of Klovharu, where she lived for almost thirty years.


Building on the success of 2016’s interactive experience The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl, the highly experiential exhibition uses these archival objects as part of the narrative, bringing Tove’s world and creations closer to the audience and offering visitors something completely different from a traditional museum exhibition. Visitors will be guided through the exhibition by an audio narrative voiced by Sandi Toksvig and written by children’s author Laura Dockrill, discovering seven immersive and interactive worlds that explore the inspirations behind Tove’s much-loved stories. These worlds explore the influence of the Nordic landscape within the Moomin books, from the dense forests of Moominvalley to a canvas tent on the water’s edge in Finland, a recreation of Tove’s art studio and her island of Klovharu.


Several of the Moomin stories, such as Comet in Moominland (1946) and Moomin Midwinter (1957) were written against the backdrop of political and socio-economic change in Finland and heavily influenced by Tove’s relationships with family, friends and lovers which defined the narrative and character development. Written during a time of hardship and war, the tolerant world of Moominvalley offered a refuge from the harshness of reality. Tove explored her art and own sexuality within the confines of this changing political landscape – and her friends, enemies, fears and hopes often found themselves manifested in the complex and emotional stories.  


Running until 23 April 2017, the exhibition will also feed into Southbank Centre’s 2017 festival offering, with a range of Moomins themed events taking place across the site during WOW – Women of the World festival (March 2017) and Imagine Children’s Festival (February 2017). A selection of archive comic strips will also be displayed in Southbank Centre’s Archive Studio in Royal Festival Hall until February 2017 and a pop-up Moomins shop will also be on Level 2 of the Royal Festival Hall throughout the exhibition’s run.


Paul Denton, Producer, Southbank Centre, said: “Tove Jansson’s work is beloved throughout the world by children and adults alike, and we’re delighted to be able to introduce a new generation to the magical world of the Moomins through this new immersive exhibition.”

Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove Jansson, said: “Tove’s work was very much inspired by her life experience – both on the highly personal level of her close relationships and more generally in terms of the influence of Finnish society, politics, lifestyle and landscapes. Southbank Centre’s approach of combining archive objects from Tove’s home and studio with immersive worlds straight from the pages of the Moomin books is the perfect way to tell the story of how this artist and her creations developed in conjunction with one another.”


Adventures in Moominland

16 December 2016 – 23 April 2017

Spirit Level at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

The world of acclaimed Finnish author Tove Jansson and The Moomins is brought to life in a major new immersive, interactive exhibition Adventures in Moominland. The exhibition presents new insights into Jansson’s life and the influences behind her work with rare archive objects and illustrations built into the experience. Recommended for ages 7+

Timings and prices:

Weekends and holidays – PEAK

  • Every 15 minutes between 10am – 6pm (last tour enters at 6pm)
  • £16.50/£13.50 (supporter ticket*)
  • £15/£12 (non-supporter ticket)

Midweek – OFF PEAK

  • Daily, on the hour at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm & 6pm
  • Thursdays and Fridays only, an additional tour at 7pm for adults only
  • £13.50/£11.50 (supporter ticket*)
  • £12/£10 (non-supporter ticket)

For more information on ticket onsale dates please see listings below, visit the Southbank Centre website here or call 020 7960 4200

When purchasing tickets ticket online, customers can also receive a 20% discount on The Moomin Colouring Book, making it £8 rather than £10.

About Moomin Characters

Oy Moomin Characters Ltd is the owner, originator and official company responsible for supervising and managing the Moomins’ brand, copyright and registrations. The company was started in 1958 by Tove Jansson and her brother Lars Jansson and even today is run by family members. Sophia Jansson, Lars’s daughter and Tove’s niece, is Chairman of the Board and Creative Director at Moomin Characters. All characters from Moomin Valley are registered trademarks.

Moomin in the UK

In February 2016, Moomin Characters announced a new 52-episode animation series to be directed by Academy Award winner Steve Box (Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit). Box will be joined on the writing team by Emmy and BAFTA-nominated Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler (Peter Rabbit, Danger Mouse) with Laurie Hutzler attached as story consultant. Cate Elliott (Charlie and Lola, Me & My Monsters) and 2014 Bafta winner John Woolley (Shaun the Sheep) will produce.

Moomin around the world

In May 2017 a new Moomin museum, three times the size of the current space, opens in Tampere, Finland. Later in the year a Moomin theme park will open in Tokyo, Japan, and in December 2017 a 12-month Moomin exhibition will begin touring major cities in South Korea.

About Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21­ acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. 

Nordic Matters

Nordic Matters is a year-long festival of Nordic art and culture in 2017 at London’s Southbank Centre, featuring music, dance, theatre, visual arts, participation, talks and debates, and gastronomy.  Chosen from a number of international applicants, Southbank Centre is the sole recipient of a grant from The Nordic Council of Ministers for a new festival celebrating the very best of Nordic art and culture throughout 2017 – one of the biggest cultural-political partnerships of its kind. A particular emphasis will be placed on the idea of play fostering curiosity and creativity, for people of all ages but especially children and young people. Moving beyond popular perceptions of the ‘Nordic Noir’ the programme is designed to embed Nordic culture and artists in Southbank Centre’s year-long artistic offer and offer a platform to some of the more ‘hidden voices’ from Greenland, Åland and the Faroe Islands.

About Tove Jansson

Tove Marika Jansson was born on 9 August 1914 in Helsinki to a family of artists. Jansson studied art both in Stockholm and Helsinki. During her first decades as an artist, Jansson produced not only paintings, but also an astonishing variety of illustrations, and was a contributor of the liberal satire magazine Garm from the age of 15. The Moomins and the Great Flood (1945) was the first volume in the series that was to become the most prominent and best-known part of Jansson’s career as an artist. Jansson’s studio in Helsinki was dedicated to her work, but since her childhood, she had fallen in love with islands and spent many summers on the tiny island of Klovharu in the Gulf of Finland. There and in her frequent travels abroad, she was accompanied by her life partner Tooti (Tuulikki Pietilä) (1917 – 2009), graphic artist and professor. Full biography available here.

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