Museum studies goes into practice

In the upcoming Museum Content Planning course (KUMA-MU 512), starting this September, the students will plan and build a small temporary exhibition about the Indian Durga Puja festival for the National Museum.

The Durga Puja altar at the Helinä Rautavaara Museum. Photo: Anna Wessman

Durga Puja is an annual Hindu festival in the Indian subcontinent that reveres the goddess Durga. It is one of the greatest festival of the Bengali people and it is celebrated also here in Finland by the bengali community in mid-October. During this course a temporary exhibition will be planned and built by the students around this theme under the supervision of Dr. Anna Wessman and curator Pilvi Vainonen from the National Museum.

Ritual artefacts associated with Durga Puja worship at the Helinä Rautavaara Museum. Photo: Anna Wessman

The students will do actual museum planning and work in co-operation with the staff from the National Museum. Instead of a classic lecture series with a written exam or essay, students will do practical hands-on museum work, such as writing museum panel texts, object labels, writing blog posts of the process and engaging through social media, which will be evaluated by the teacher. Thus, the result of the course is a real museum exhibition, which is a very rare and exciting task for both students and the teachers. Because of this, the course will be limited to only eight persons and the students will work in smaller teams, all with specific duties.