A Discussion of the Aino Myth, #Metoo and the role of museums

by Mari Viita-Aho

The Finnish national epic, Kalevala, has become a controversial topic during the past winter. Particularly the character of Aino has been in the center of debates inspired or proceeded by the #metoo campaign. The director of the Ateneum Art Museum (Finnish National Gallery) has received emails suggesting the removal of Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s Aino-myth from the exhibition. The Gallen-Kallela Museum, which has been founded to foster the heritage of Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela, considered its duty to take part in this conversation and arranged a discussion on the topic.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela: Aino Myth, Triptych. 1891. Photo: Kansallisgalleria / Aaltonen, Hannu

Participants had been invited from diverse fields and backgrounds. Present were Collections Management Director of The Finnish National Gallery Riitta Ojanperä, PhD Student of Musicology Sini Mononen, Professor of Folklore from the University of Helsinki Lotte Tarkka and Director of Gallen-Kallela Museum Tuija Wahlroos. The conversation was moderated by Director of the Finnish Museum of Photography Elina Heikka, and it took place at the Gallen-Kallela Museum  in 17th of March.

Tuija Wahlroos started the occasion by presenting the story of Aino as a character in Kalevala, and elaborated Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s relationship to Kalevala. The Aino-myth was Gallen-Kallela’s first major Kalevala painting and it provoked debate already at the time it was first exhibited in 1889. Since then, Gallen-Kallela’s paintings have become probably the most famous depictions of Kalevala in Finland, and they are acknowledged and appreciated widely.

Tuija Walhroos and Elina Heikka. Photo: Salla Tiainen / Gallen-Kallela Museum

One of the central topics of the discussion was the means of art in observing and reflecting society, and the importance of the reflection in itself,  as Riitta Ojanperä pointed out in her opening. Art can be perceived as a common space, in which approaching even the most awkward topics is enabled. Something very similar to this is the idea of the  #metoo-campaign: it aims to create a public space, which would be safe and open for discussion.

In the case of #metoo and Kalevala, Aino and Väinämöinen are treated as stereotypes of feminine and masculine characters in Finnish society. Debate has twirled around the image of Finland as an equal place, and whether this equality is reality or fiction. The character of Aino has been seen, in the #metoo conversation, as evidence of inequality in Finnish society. Tuija Wahlroos noted that Aino is one of the iconic characters in Finnish art history, and opens many doors for discussion. Through #metoo, the character of Aino allows to open up the conversation of equality in Finnish history without personifying it into any actual incident or individual.

Lotte Tarkka, Riitta Ojanperä, Sini Mononen and Elina Heikka. Photo: Salla Tiainen / Gallen-Kallela Museum

It is quite remarkable that Kalevala, which was first published in 1835/1849, still draws attention and stirs emotions, even provokes quarrels. People relate to the characters and their destinies so intensely, that contradictory interpretations can seem obnoxious. It seems, however, that the discussion around Kalevala is not really about the storylines of the characters, but the values in society. Some of the questions #metoo raises are: How do the gender roles of Kalevala relate to our current time? What does the Aino-myth tell about the options women had in the 19th century? And on the other hand, have those options become opportunities or otherwise changed so drastically as we have thought?

Always, when a period of transformation is ongoing in the culture, its elementary values will also be contested, noted Lotte Tarkka. Thus it seems, that we are now living in one of these cultural transformation phases. National myths, and their characters, reflect the values cherished in different eras. In art history, depictions of national epics can be seen as a mirror of society and therefore also tools for scrutinizing the inherent values, on which national identity is based on. Sini Mononen also noted, that if these conversations about the values of the society, happen in a public level, they might finally effect to the legislation. Currently, this is what is happening with #metoo. This seems to be an opportunity for institutions to open up the discussion, or to invigorate it.

Sini Mononen suggested, that the role of institutions is to take part in cultural conversations and therefore also be part of the transformation. It is interesting to observe, which ways museums do find to initiate conversations, launch new openings, and to participate into a defining process of cultural and national identity in the future. Museums are experts of art, culture, and history, and their expertise are valued in many fields of society. At the closure of this conversation, Riitta Ojanperä returned to her observation of art as a reflection of society. It could be worthwhile to imagine novel ways, through which this ability to reflect the society would be utilized.

Visual Thinking Strategy in the Art Museum Club

by Mari Viita-aho

This time the Art Museum Club takes place in Kiasma. We have come to see the exhibition Ars Fennica and gathered our chairs in front of a painting. First, we look it in a silence for a while before discussion.

Camilla Vuorenmaa: Chamber, 2017 (detail, photo: Mari Viita-aho)

Me: “So okay, what do you think, what’s going on in this picture?”

Partipant 1: “There are two flamingos in the pond.”

Me: What makes you say they are flamingos?”

P1: “Because they have red or pinkish on their beaks, which is the same colour that flamingos have.”

Me: What else can you find?

P2: There is a pond or a lake and on ashore there are two men dancing. I think they are Finnish adult pop stars Matti and Teppo!

Me: Really? What makes you say that?

P2: It’s because they’re happy and dancing, and also about the same height with each other. They remind me of Matti and Teppo. I think they live in the cottage (…)

Conversation goes on about experiences of music, singers, and Africa, which is presumed by the group to be the settings for this picture. Also, we linger in the idea of the whole room, “The Chamber”, and think about things we know about Egypt, pyramids, graves and death.

In this tour, guides (or instructors) don’t elaborate backgrounds or working styles of the artists. On the contrary, the idea is to concentrate in the viewer, viewer’s knowledge, feelings and associations, and on the issues rising from them. This conversational, participant-centered approach is called Visual Thinking Strategy (VTS) and it’s based on a long-term studies of cognitive psychologist Abigail Housen and museum educator Phillip Yenawine. At the past year, we have been experimenting with the method in the Art museum club.

Visual Thinking Strategy is based on three questions, which are asked when looking at the image. First one of them: “What’s going on in the picture?”, directs the attention of the group to a selected part of the image. Often, we leave things taken for granted unsaid, only assuming, everyone shares a similar insight of them. Many times this is not the case and it’s surprising to hear, how differently people see things.

The second question, “What makes you say that?”, encourages the viewer to think about her own reasoning: what particular thing in the image led into this interpretation? This simple question steers to observe and to discuss about the hidden clues in the image, details which can be bypassed easily. This is the actual learning point on the visual reading. For example, we have been drawn into discussions about how different painting styles can produce sometimes even opposite impressions. Or, what things are instinctively connected to certain colours or shapes.

The third question, “What more can you find?” is about starting the circle again, digging deeper and widening the conversation further.

Conversation with Tuukka Kaila about his art works in the Finnish Museum of Photography (Photo: Mari Viita-aho)

Instructor’s role is to keep the conversation going, make verbal summaries about the discussion and to make sure, everyone can follow it. When explanations are expressed, the instructor paraphrases them back to interpreters, and to the rest of the group. On the one hand, this is to give a chance to correct or specify the interpretation, but also to confirm, the viewers insight is heard and understood.

Paraphrasing of visual interpretations back to the group seems to somehow build distance between the interpretation and the interpreter. This directs the discussion more to consider the possibility of different ways of looking at images, and guides farther from assuming one, appropriate way of looking and interpreting. Thus one benefit of the paraphrasing is, that it empowers the particular visual reading, while at the same time stresses the validity of other explanations as well. This builds curious, investigative, and democratic atmosphere to the conversation.

VTS has been mostly used in schools or other student groups. In addition, some art museums have had tours with it. Art Museum Club’s experiments with the VTS will continue this spring.

Do you have experience with the VTS? If you want to share or discuss about the method, please feel free to contact me! mari.viita-aho@helsinki.fi


Some further readings on VTS:

Abery, Nicola. Learning to Live/Looking to Learn: A Visual Thinking Strategies Survey. In Abery, Nicola. The New Museum Community: Audiences, Challenges, Benefits : A Collection of Essays. Edinburgh: MuseumsEtc, 2010.

Yenawine, Philip. Visual Thinking Strategies: Using Art to Deepen Learning Across School Discipline. Cambridge: Harvard education press, 2013.


Where Are the Borders? Call for papers

Nordic museums profile themselves in the international museum field through a common vision of museums as institutions that support individual and community identity work; that support reconstruction of active citizenship, and that create space for multicultural discussions. Their task is to transcend the borders.Nordisk museumsförbundFinland (the Nordic Museum Association Finland) and Museum Studies, University of Helsinki welcome you to the conference:


(Conference pages also available in Swedish)

Nordic countries are considered to be prime examples of good cooperation and neighbourly relations. However there are, and have been, many different kinds of borders as well. Historically, we have fought for national borders and self-determination. Today we have cultural borders, different ethnic groups, and language barriers. Emigration has been a major phenomenon and migration within and between the Nordic countries continues. Immigration, marginalization and polarization are major social issues in all Nordic countries. Social class and gender can also create borders.
Museums can be a facilitator and forum for crossing borders. What do the historical and cultural borders and neighboring relations mean for Nordic museum operations and collections? Are there also museological borders? Where are the borders for the individual employee? What about power and ethics?
• Are there borders also within and between museums?
• How are borders defined in an art museum or in a cultural history museum, for example?
• Which border phenomena have visibility?
• How do these borders affect the collections? What new borders arise during the musealization process?
• Where are the borders between knowledge and entertainment? Is there room for scientific work?
• Can museums decide their borders for themselves? To what extent are the borders determined by the public and different interest groups?
• What challenges do the Nordic vision encounter in the 2020s?

We welcome presentations from both theoretical and practical viewpoints. Students and early carrier scholars are also encouraged to participate. Our aim is to create dialogue between today’s and future museology and its practitioners.


Curator Áile Aikio, Siida the National museum of the Finnish Sámi, Inari, Finland
Museum Director, PhD, Sanne Houby-Nielsen, The Nordic Museum, Stockholm, Sweden
Professor Simon Knell, Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK

Presentations can take the form of a PowerPoint presentation, a panel debate or a poster. We also welcome suggestions for other forms of presentation. Please state in your abstract the type of presentation you are aiming for. The length of a PowerPoint presentation is 15 minutes, and panel debate 40 minutes. A panel should consist of a moderator and max 3 other discussants from at least 2 different countries.

Submitting paper proposals

The length of the abstract proposal is max 400 words, and should contain the presentation title and 3–10 key words. Please submit paper proposals by February 2nd, 2018 using the EasyChair Submission page. The submission page opened December 4th, 2017, and closes February 2nd, 2018. There is also help available in submitting your text using EasyChair. Approved abstracts will be publicized on the conference webpage and programme. Any questions should be sent to the conference email-adress: NMAHelsinki@helsinki.fi.

Important dates

Deadline for abstract submission: February 2nd, 2018
Accepted proposals will be notified by March 31st, 2018.
Registration starts by April 4th, 2018
Early bird registration deadline: June, 3rd, 2018

Museologian seminaari 2018 hakee puheenvuoroja / The museology seminar 2018 asks for proposals

Museologian seminaari 2018 järjestetään 19.-20.4.2018 Jyväskylässä. Seminaarin aiheena on alkuperäiskansojen kulttuuriperintö ja representointi museoissa, ja aiheeseen liittyviä puheenvuoroehdotuksia pyydetään 12.1.2018 mennessä. Call for papers löytyy kokonaisuudessaan osoitteesta: http://museologian-seminaari-2018.webnode.fi/l/cfp/.

Jyväskylän yliopiston museologian opiskelijoiden järjestämä museologian seminaari on pidetty vuodesta 1996 lähtien joka vuosi. Museologian seminaarin tarkoituksena on paneutua museoalan ajankohtaisiin kysymyksiin ja edistää museoalan opiskelijoiden ja ammattilaisten verkostoitumista. Seminaari järjestetään yhteistyössä ICOM – Suomen komitean ja Museoalan ammattiliiton kanssa.

Museologian seminaari 2018 löytyy myös Facebookista: @museologianseminaari2018

By Arto Sipinen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Jyväskylä University museology seminar will be held 19​th-20th of April 2018. The theme of the seminar this year is cultural heritage of indigenous peoples and its representation and use in the museum field. We ask for proposals regarding the theme to be sent to us by 12th of January 2018. Call for papers is available at:  http://museologian-seminaari-2018.webnode.fi/l/cfp/.

The seminar is arranged by the students of museology of the University of Jyväskylä. The seminar is organised in collaboration with ICOM Finland and the Union of Academic Museum Employees in Finland.

Museology seminar 2018 is at Facebook: @museologianseminaari2018

Staffing updates; some changes for 2018 / Henkilöstöuutisia ja vuoden 2018 muutoksia

From January 2018, Suzie Thomas will work as Professor of Cultural Heritage Studies, covering the teaching and research related to Cultural Heritage Studies for the year. Nina Robbins will become a full time University Lecturer in Museum Studies, and will take on the responsibility for delivering the Museum Studies courses for the same period (apart from Museum Security course in May, which Suzie will still teach). From February 2018 Anna Wessman starts her role as Researcher on the Academy of Finland project SuALT, and will teach one course in Museum Studies, which will be announced later.

 We’re all excited about working with the students, museum and other heritage institutions over the coming year, and wish you all the best for the holiday season!


Tammikuun alusta Suzie Thomas aloittaa työnsä kulttuuriperintötutkimuksen professorina ja toimii vuoden ajan oppiaineen opetuksen ja tutkimuksen parissa. Nina Robbins puolestaan aloittaa museologian yliopistolehtorin tehtävässä ja hoitaa suurimman osan Suzien kursseista museologian oppiaineessa vuoden 2018 aikana. Suzie vetää museoiden turvallisuuteen keskittyvän kurssin toukokuussa ja Nina hoitaa muut kurssit. Anna Wessman aloittaa akatemiantutkijan tehtävässä helmikuussa 2018 keskittyen SuALT projektiin. Hän myös vetää yhden museologian kurssin, jonka sisällöstä tiedotetaan myöhemmin.

Odotamme kovasti vuotta 2018 ja meistä kaikista on ilo jatkaa työtä heritologia-aineiden kehittämisen parissa.

Toivotamme teille kaikille erittäin rauhaisaa ja mukavaa lomakautta!

Suzie, Anna ja Nina

Museum Educator Days 2017

By Sanna-Mari Niemi

This year’s Museum Educator Days (Museolehtoripäivät), organized by The Finnish Museums Association, were held in Turku on the 21st and 22nd November. The seminar summoned together about 80 professionals from the fields of museum education and audience engagement. Two days were filled with case studies, varied workshops and discussions that left me full of ideas – some of which I’m presenting here for you, too.

Museum educators at the Old Town Hall in Turku. Photo: Sanna-Mari Niemi

The first seminar day had its common thread in solidarity, inclusiveness and empathy. Talks reflected the role of museums in bringing knowledge of diversity, and helping to create a dialogue between people from various backgrounds. In a nutshell, many of the examples encouraged museums to take an active part in tackling even the more challenging aspects of education. We were asked the question: how do museums, art and culture relate to the notion of a good life? I guess the actual question here, though, is not whether they can bring positive effects but how to measure and demonstrate these. The presentations dealt with tolerance, wellbeing through culture, and opening art collections to fresh viewpoints and queer gaze.

Ermin Škorić from Segerstedtinstitutet in Göteborg’s University shared experiences of the Tolerance project, whose mission is to spread knowledge and develop methods against recruitment of violent ideologies and racist organizations. The topic is as timely as ever. The Tolerance project works tightly together with schools which gives it continuity and outreach many museums can only dream of. The students between 14–16 years are mixed in groups outside their regular ingroups and meet on a regular basis, three times a month during one school year – sounds fantastic compared to museums, where time spans for workshops are usually very limited. At best, the practice gives pupils both a safe environment to express themselves and become more self-aware, thereby learning to resist violent ideologies. But to create such a safe space from a mixed group of people demands time. Maybe in the future something of a similar scale could be developed in a tighter cooperation between museums and schools in Finland as well? Museums provide a multi-faceted learning environment, and museum educators are experts in making the best of it. I found it surprising to hear that the Tolerance project hasn’t yet been directly cooperating with museums or heritage sites (except for the general notion that 40.000 Swedish pupils go to an excursion to Auschwitz each year). Let’s hope that the on-going Taidetestaajat (Art testers) project activating 8th graders throughout Finland can give valuable information about the needs of youth and education and give rise to ideas in the future.

Many of the speakers provided interesting web resources to projects related to culture, wellbeing and education. For instance, Taikusydän, a Turku-based multisectoral coordination centre for arts, culture and wellbeing is worth checking out. Their links to further material (projects, on-going education etc.) and a network for researchers active with these themes can be found on their web page.

Johanna Ruohonen shared some experiences of creating a queer-themed guided tour at Kirpilä Art Collection, a house museum in Helsinki that hosts an impressive private collection of Finnish art from the 1850’s to the 1980’s. This approach has given a novel perspective to Juhani Kirpilä’s art collection: besides a guided tour, the theme also shows on the walls of the house museum, in the new collections display (the museum updates its displays regularly, for the reasons of mediation and preservation). Guided tours have been popular and brought new audiences to the museum, showing that there’s a rising demand for new approaches to presenting art history and collections. Ruohonen also introduced a wonderful new initiative by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Museum Vision. It gives museums a possibility to fund their innovative projects in exhibition design and audience engagement. So, stay tuned for the first application period starting in February 2018.

One of my favourite parts of the Museum Educator Days were the 7-minute quick-presentations. They provided many concise sparks of ideas and practices – and were fun to hear. Among these pitches was an idea of using webinars as a method for school cooperation. Webinars could make museums accessible also for those schools that are located far from museums or lacking travel funds, so this is worth keeping in mind.

Workshops were mainly held at Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova. Photo: Sanna-Mari Niemi

Day 2 concentrated around audience engagement and user-centered design in museums. Minna Raitmaa from Kiasma gave a presentation of Finnish National Gallery’s audience-centered design processes that seemed luxurious for many of us working in smaller museums. But many of these ideas can (and should) be scaled to fit one’s needs, and useful tools for using tight resources economically and purposefully. To be able to provide meaningful event programs, museums need to know their audiences. Or, even better, take the audience together to plan the projects from as early as possible. Outi Putkonen presented Mediatarinat jakoon! (Sharing media stories!) workshop outline of the Museum of Technology. Here, the activities were designed for a very specific target group and had clearly defined aims. What’s best, they have shared a pdf handbook of the project.

On both days, we got to choose workshops at the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museum. I attended the ones dealing with augmented reality (Digital lies or time travels to the past? AR as a method for museum pedagogy) and speed dates with art pieces. The workshop on AR left me somewhat disappointed: many cool museum-related AR projects have already been done as a project, but after the projects have ended there hasn’t been enough money for actually launching and regularly updating the applications so only one of the many examples had been opened for general public. Typical, but such a shame. So, I’ll talk more about this latter workshop.

On a speed date with Nora Tapper’s artwork Fence (2017) in the 8th Turku Biennial. Photo: Sanna-Mari Niemi

Speed dating is usually something that is done in bars, but in recent years Cupids have also been pointing their arrows inside museum walls. Last summer we even witnessed a marriage of a couple having first met in a Match Made in Museum -event in the National Museum of Finland, since the bride thanked the museum in social media (speaking of museums changing lives!). Singles nights in museums have taken multiple forms, but one can well go on a speed date with art with a group of friends, a bachelor(ette) party, work team etc. Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova has produced a Speed date with art -service that is a lot of fun and a quirky way to see modern art. I enjoyed the tour led by their museum educator Janna Jokela. Here are some facilitating questions: what can you learn from a ‘person’ in a meeting of a few minutes? What would you like to ask your new acquaintance? What can you learn from their character and maybe past experiences? And most importantly: could you imagine setting up a second date?

Some ending reflections: I was particularly pleased to see that many of the presented projects were based on research, thereby seeking substance to support their methods. It was also useful to see various frameworks for assessing excellence in audience development. Whether it’s in forms of excel sheets, presentations or publications, the ability to make the results visible is vital in understanding effectiveness and justifying the need of museum education and strategic audience development – and it helps in sharing best practices with others.

I would like to give my warmest thanks to all organizers, speakers and participants for the friendly atmosphere and many inspiring ideas!

Peter Davis: ‘Reflections on Ecomuseums: theory and practice’

’eco’ – derived from the Greek ’oikos’– a house, living space or a habitat (Davis 2011: 3)

One of the main interests in Peter Davis’s research, is community museology and ecomuseums, which he has been studying since the 1990s. On 7th of November, Davis held a lecture on ecomuseums at the University of Helsinki. This text is written to draw together some of the themes he introduced. (Quotations are from the lecture.)

Davis characterizes ecomuseums as being linked to a place and thus belonging to a particular environment. They are ’community driven projects, which usually involve voluntary work with local people, helping them to develop sustainable ways of action’. Ecomuseum is a malleable concept which respons to unique contexts. The three main pillars of ecomuseums can be described as a sence of place, community involvement, and functions in a unique environment.

A sense of place

There are many variations of ecomuseums, with different emphases, but what they all share, is an idea of a place. By the means of ecomuseum, it’s possible to take a holistic approach to heritage and to the surrounding environment, and to explore the essence of each distictive area. Thus, instead of being a building, museum becomes a place, which boundaries can be defined by music, tradition, dialect or other attributes. When traditional museums can be illustrated as object-centered: emphasizing collection and buildings; ecomuseums focus on heritage: emphasizing territory, population and memory.

Community involvement

Processes of democratisation characterise ecomuseums. They can be jointly managed and owned, or they can be steered otherwise by local communities and encourage people to participate. On the contrary to traditional museums, ecomuseums depend on voluntary effort. Therefore, instead of concentrating to the final result, the process of involvement becomes the focal point. Manners of participation and democratisation give leeway to local identities to empower. Thus, community and its’ memory shift at the center of the attention, whereas the traditional museum functions around professionals and legitimate techniques.

Functions in a unique environment

The idea of the ecomuseum covers spatial as well as temporal aspects. It brings visible the interconnectedness between nature & culture; past & present; technology & individual; which are often treated as exclusive elements. This enables the preservation of both tangible and intangible heritage. The forms of ecomuseums varies with diverse geographical territories. However, a feature defining all ecomuseums is the enhancement of sustainable development: local heritage resources are safeguarded and preserved.

To conclude, all ecomuseums share the idea of place, function with local community and enhance sustainable devolopment in the unique environment. At the present, impacts and societal effects of museums are under vivid discussion in Finland. Participative practices are stressed with the purpose of increasing social and mental wellbeing. Concurrently, we are facing the biggest crisis of humankind in the form of climate change. Perhaps ecomuseums could respond to both of these needs? Wonder if we will see more variations of them in Finland at the near-future.

Overall, the lecture was thought provoking. Warm thanks to Peter Davis for visiting us!


Further reading

Borrelli, Nunzia. “How Culture Shapes Nature: Reflections On Ecomuseum Practices.(Report).” Nature and Culture 7, no. 1 (2012): 31.

Chang, Cheng. “A Narrative Review of Ecomuseum Literature: Suggesting a Thematic Classification and Identifying Sustainability As a Core Element.” International Journal Of The Inclusive Museum 7, no. 2 (2015): 15-29.

Davis, Peter. Ecomuseums: A Sense of Place. 2nd ed. London: Continuum, 2011.

Davis, Peter & … In Knell, Simon J., Suzanne MacLeod, and Sheila Watson. Museum Revolutions: How Museums Change and Are Changed. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2007.

Dogan, Mustafa. “Ecomuseum, Community Museology, Local Distinctiveness, Hüsamettindere Village, Bogatepe Village, Turkey.” Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development 5, no. 1 (2015): 43-60.

Gunter, Christopher. “Ecomuseums: Challenging Temporality Through Community Reappropriation.” The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society 47, no. 4 (2017): 259-273.



Esille event coming up in November

Esille – the museum and exhibition research forum (museo- ja näytellytutkimuksen forum) – is organizing a one day event on 9th November in Ateneum. The event begins at 10.15 and ends at 15:45, and showcases recent research from people working with and in Finnish museums.

Among the speakers, University Lecturer Suzie Thomas will give a presentation (in English) on the research of the Academy of Finland project Lapland’s Dark Heritage.

The programme is as follows (in Finnish):

10.15–10.30 Tervetuliaissanat, Susanna Pettersson

10.30–11.15 Suzie Thomas: Lapland’s Dark Heritage

11.15–12.15 Sessio 1 (pj. Taina Syrjämaa)

  • Satu Savia: Tuntematon Tyyne – digitaalinen rekonstruktio
  • Riku Manni: Eriarvoisuuden estradilla. Vuosien 1851 ja 1862 brittiläiset maailmannäyttelyt ja eriarvoisuuden esittäminen

12.15–13.15 Lounas (omakustanteinen)

13.15–14.45 Sessio 2 (pj. Leila Koivunen)

  • Taina Syrjämaa: Näkymättömyyttä ja näkyvyyttä – eläimet 1800-luvun näyttelymediassa
  • Pia Koivunen: Kenellä on oikeus puhua Leninistä ja miten? Tampereen Lenin-museo Moskovan näkökulmasta
  • Anne-Maija Malmisalo-Lensu: Kävijöiden motiivien, odotusten ja kokemusten tutkiminen – Haastattelututkimus metodina Alvar Aallon talomuseoissa

14.45–15.00 Tauko

15.00–15.45 Anne-Maria Pennonen (Veljekset von Wright -näyttelyn pääkuraattori): Suurnäyttelyä tekemässä: tutkimuskysymyksistä näyttelyksi

15.45 Lopetus

All are welcome!

Ateneum, by Nyblin Daniel, 1890, kept by National Board of Antiquities – Musketti, under license CC BY 4.0, sourced via finna.fi

Museotyö kantaa

Nina Robbinsin uusi blogikirjoitus

Museologian peruskurssi päättyi ja alan tietämys jalkautui noin kolmenkymmenenviiden opiskelijan voimin maailmalle. Kiitokset opiskelijoille hyvistä ja älykkäistä huomioista liittyen alan historiaan ja tulevaisuuteen. Alun historiaosuuksien jälkeen kuulimme jo pitkään museoissa vaikuttaneiden ammattilaisten näkemyksiä omasta työstään. Syksyn kuluessa saimme kuulla paljon, ja oli antoisaa itsekin siirtyä opettajan roolista oppijaksi. Suurkiitos vieraileville luennoitsijoille, jotka vapaaehtoisina halusivat jakaa museotietämystään nuorille opiskelijoille.

Järvenpään taidemuseon esittelyssä kuulimme, että pienessä museossa on käytännöllistä olla moniosaaja, olipa kyseessä sisältötuotanto tai talotekniikka. Usein roolia täytyy vaihtaa lennossa tai jopa kesken lauseen. Luennolla pohdimme, mitkä tekijät toimivat museon pienuuden mittareina. Onko vähäinen henkilökunta ja henkilötyövuosien määrä osoitus pienuudesta? Kumpaa painotetaan pienuuden mittarina enemmän, kokoelman määrää vai laatua? Mitkä ovat tässä ajassa ja paikassa ylipäätään museoiden painoarvon mittareita? Keskusteluun nostettiin esimerkiksi tilanteita, joissa pienten museoiden tulee tuottaa aivan yhtä korkealaatuista ja syväluotaavaa sisältöä, kuin suurempien yksiköiden. Museon asiakkaillehan museon pienuus ei saa näkyä.

Eero Järnefelt, Yksityiskohta teoksesta ”Idän myrsky”, 1890-l., öljy kankaalle, Hämeenlinnan taidemuseo, Kuva: Nina Robbins

Museoliiton luennon aikana saimme kuulla järjestön edunvalvontaroolista ja sen tekemästä kansainvälisestä yhteistyöstä. Suomessa on yli tuhat museota, joka on väkilukuun suhteutettuna paljon. Näissä museoissa työskentelee noin 1900 museoammattilaista, jotka päivittäin tekevät päätöksiä liittyen arvoihin, valintoihin ja painopisteisiin. Järjestönäkökulmasta katsottuna, museoiden yhteiskunnallinen vaikuttavuus on yksi painopiste, johon on panostettava. Kuulimme, kuinka onnistunut museokorttihanke on hyvä esimerkki vaikuttavuuden jalkautumisesta museokävijöiden arkeen.

Vierailu Suomen arkkitehtuurimuseossa tutustutti meidät yhden erikoismuseon arkeen. Kuulimme, kuinka museotyö sujuu historiallisessa rakennuksessa, jonka tilaratkaisut on optimoitu toiselle vuosisadalle. Käynti avasi museon laajaa arkistoaineistoa ja opiskelijat kutsuttiin tutkimaan kirjaston ja arkiston tietosisältöjä lähemmin. Kuulimme myös, kuinka museoiden välinen näyttely-yhteistyö voi saada aikaan suurhankkeita, jotka rikastuttavat näyttelysisältöjä.

Käynti Suomen valokuvataiteen museossa antoi tietoa museon erittäin aktiivisesta ja ympäri Helsinkiä jalkautuneesta peda-toiminnasta. Keskustelimme siitä, kuinka tulevaisuudessa ei ole riittävää mitata museoiden vaikuttavuutta ainoastaan museon ovista kulkevien kävijöiden määrällä tai mielipiteillä. Tarvitsemme tulevaisuudessa osallistavan museotyön arviointiin erilaisia mittareita. Museo on ottanut selvää, mikä kaupunkilaisille on merkityksellistä ja mennyt mukaan osatoimijana kaupunkilaisten omiin hankkeisiin. Näissä projekteissa museotyön rooli asiantuntijana on vaihtunut yhteistyökumppanuuteen.

Luentosarjan taidehistorian tutkijavierailu kartutti tietämystämme kansainvälisestä näyttelytoiminnasta ja näyttelyiden suurhankkeista. Luennon fokuksena oli suurien eurooppalaisten museoiden vanhan taiteen tutkimushankkeet ja esimerkkinä jo vuonna 1968 aloitettu suuri Rembrandt tutkimus (RRP). Keskusteltiin siitä, kuinka tutkimus omalta osaltaan nostaa museotyön arvostusta ja yksittäisten museoiden statusta. Samalla sivuttiin myös museoiden välistä kilpailua, jossa näyttelyhankkeita aletaan valmistella vuosia ennen H-hetkeä.

Luonnontieteellisen keskusmuseon (Luomus) vierailun yhteydessä kuulimme (museon) johtamisesta. Miten museotyö hoituu, kun emo-organisaationa on Helsingin yliopisto ja arkeen kuuluvat lukuisat lakisääteiset tehtävät. Kuulimme kuinka johtamistyön varsinainen arki alkaa, kun SWOT-analyysi on tehty sekä missio, visio ja strategia luonnosteltu. Se alkaa, kun on aika motivoida henkilöstö kohti yhteisiä päämääriä.

ICOMin luento antoi tietoa verkostoitumisesta ja siitä, kuinka ICOMin erilaiset kansainväliset komiteat tarjoavat loistavia mahdollisuuksia yhteistyöhön. Puhuimme myös laajasti museoetiikasta ja kävimme läpi ICOMin museotyön eettiset ohjeet. Todettiin, että ohjeet antavat osviittaa museotyöhön, mutta niiden on myös oltava joustavia, jotta ne todella toimisivat arjen työkaluna museoammattilaisille.

Viimeisenä teeman kuulimme Kansallisgallerian syntyvaiheista ja erityisesti Suomen Taideyhdistyksen merkkihenkilöistä. Tämä loi luentosarjalle jatkumoa. Jo 1800-luvulla suomalaisten museoajattelijoiden tavoitteena oli luoda pohja kansallisille kokoelmille, joilla olisi kauaskantoista vaikuttavuutta. Me, vuonna 2017 saamme olla tämän vaikuttavuuden osana, ja meidän tehtävänä on viedä vaikuttavuuden viestiä eteenpäin.

Museon idea ja historia -luennoilla kävi selkeästi ilmi, että kaikilla museoammattilaisilla on yhteinen päämäärä, jota ehkä missioksikin voisi kutsua. Tämä missio ei ole aikasidonnainen, vaan museotyö on kantanut vuosikymmenestä toiseen. Me saamme vuorostamme nyt olla kulttuuriperintömme suojelijoita ja suunnannäyttäjiä. Tämä on tehtävä, joka antaa työlle merkitystä. Tehtävä synnyttää kauaskantoista vastuuta, jonka muut yhteiskunnan organisaatiot ovat uskoneet meidän haltuumme. Tämän luottamuksen ylläpito vaatii arvokeskustelua. Arvokeskustelun tuloksena meidän on mahdollista tehdä oikeasuuntaisia päätöksiä liittyen kulttuuriperintöömme. Siksi keskustelua kannattaa virittää, käydä ja aktiivisesti harjoitella. Kiitos luennoitsijoille, että otitte aikaa omasta arjestanne ja välititte tämän tiedon nuorille.


Meet the Art museum -club

by Mari Viita-aho

The Art Museum Club is a group that tours around art museums in Helsinki. It is coordinated by Helsingin kehitysvammatuki 57 ry., a private organization that provides leisure time activity for people with intellectual disabilities.

Most leisure-time activities designed for these people are actualized in exclusive spaces, designated for participants only. This can result in unintended construction of boundaries preventing people with disabilities from moving in the city. The hidden curriculum of the Art museum club is to familiarize the participants with the city: to encourage movement and to make the urban environment more accessible and less remote.

Besides increasing the openness of the city space, the Art Museum Club also aims at promoting easy access to art. To achieve this, the club utilizes some of the very basic ideas of general museum education. The activities of the club are based on the idea of bringing art within everyone’s reach. In each meeting, the notion of translating feelings and images into words, is discussed.

The Art Museum Club saw Alvar Aalto -exhibition in Ateneum (Finnish National gallery). The Club evaluates: Alvar Aalto is surprisingly modern and multifaceted.

The structure of the club is simple: the group meets, visits an exhibition and discusses it. Meetings take place every two weeks. The group gathers in the lobby of the art museum to which they have to be able to find themselves. Tutors take them to a tour to an ongoing exhibition. Methods used on a tour vary from informative guided tours to visual thinking strategy -based meetings. In addition, when there is a low threshold workshop, or exhibition-related participative activity available, it can be utilized.

Sauntering exhibitions is certainly fun, but the most important part follows only after the tour: time for coffee and cake … and to reflect the new ideas imprinted in mind.

Having coffee in Ateneum after the exhibition.

More on art museum club is to come, so stay tuned!