This online exhibition, "From Breeches to Coveralls – The History of Finnish Police Uniforms", offers a detailed presentation of how police uniforms used in Finland have evolved from the Swedish era to the present. The exhibition features paintings and photographs of uniformed police officers from different time periods as well as photographs of uniforms preserved in the collections of the National Police Museum. The exhibition includes a chronological presentation of the history of police uniforms, but also separate texts on coats, headwear and other parts of the uniform.
Older Finnish police uniforms were similar to uniforms worn by other civil servants. The first uniforms specifically designed for the police were introduced only in the 19th century, and the focus of this exhibition is on the uniforms of this period onward. Of particular interest are the changes of the 20th century, driven by political considerations at the beginning of the century and an increasingly active search for comfortable and practical uniform items during the later decades.
From 1900 onward, the uniform statutes were included in the Code of Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Finland, the name of which became the Finnish Code of Statutes following Finnish independence in 1917. This online exhibition includes the original Finnish statutes for reference. Drawings of articles of uniform clothing and insignia are often featured.
The police uniform is much more than a set of clothing. How the uniform should be put on, how it should be worn, how the uniformed officer should behave in specific situations, and how various kinds of equipment should be carried forms a culture of its own. This exhibition discusses the very centre of this culture, the uniform itself, and how legislators have sought to influence the uniform throughout its history.