Ways of seeing – approaches to curation

by Tehmina Goskar

In November 2017 I had the pleasure of teaching a class to Helsinki Museum Studies Students. The session was about finding hidden stories from our cultural collections and tested a new philosophy and methodology for curating based on awareness and asking good questions.

But surely awareness of context and good research questions are a natural part of curating? Well it should be but very often our museums will prioritise one voice and a one-way conversation over a two-way conversation and multiple ideas and voices. It is my belief, and that of the Curators Institute, that the multiplicity of curatorial voices and investigative techniques leads to more inspiring, entertaining and ultimately thought-provoking interpretation.

Knowledge and power

Students heard about how museums construct their power through building and disseminating information and stories based on their collections. The model below is a simple demonstration of how this power is created, and amplified, if not in reality, certainly in the minds of curators. However, it is the way this power is shared with museum users, whether they are local and digital communities, visitors or communities of interest (diverse people who unite around a common passion for something).

As a curator it is your job to find and tell hidden stories and then to permit the user/visitor to make their own meaning – and please remember to reply.

Model of museum power (T. Goskar, 2017)

From theory to practice

The theory behind these ideas are based on five approaches to material culture and humanity’s relationship with it. Each approach provoked a different idea about museum objects: the archaeologist’s perspective on giving a voice to artefacts because they cannot speak for themselves (Grierson, 1959); the anthropologist’s method of tracing the life-story or biography of an object (Kopytoff, 1988); constructions of narratives through taxonomy giving the sensation (or illusion) of civilisation (Braudel, 1979, 1981); the artificial division of art and science (Obrist, 2015)—and this is especially keenly felt in the practice of curating which is heavily dominated by the fine art world; and finally ways of seeing as magisterially put forward by John Berger (1972)—and certainly the thinker that has had most influence on me. The key message I share with everyone I teach about curating is that self-awareness of our learned assumptions is absolutely critical to the success of our practice.

With this grounding in the big ideas that surround museums and material culture, it was time for practice. What is obvious to you may not be to your colleagues or audience. The best tools you can use to get the best out of museum collections is to learn how to ask open questions to find out those hidden stories:

  • The biography or the life cycle of the object before it came into the museum (creation, ownership, use)
  • The existing knowledge about the object and its contexts
  • The relevance of the object to diverse people (then and now)

Open questions start with these words, and here are some examples:

  • What … is it made of?
  • How … was it used?
  • Where …. has it travelled?
  • When … was it restored?
  • Who … would donated or sold it to the museum?
  • Why …. would someone from my community be interested in this?

A range of students brought in an object that was meaningful to them (or a photo). It was wonderful to witness the workshop in action among the students who had come from such a wide variety of backgrounds, bringing with them their own talents, know-how and interests. This diversity really came through in their presentations and in the questions that were asked.

This was an exercise in taking a person-centred approach to interpretation. Rather than see their objects as remote and other, they interpreted them to their colleagues as things that represented a story, a moment in life or a place that held meaning for them. As a consequence, the questions that were asked of them became more meaningful, more about creating resonance and mutual appreciation than just about imparting terse technical information such as the title, artist, medium and date of a painting.

Examples of the empathy created during the two-way conversations that took place were Neha’s sil batta – a kind of rolling pin for crushing and grinding to make pastes – leading to discussion about food, and feelings of longing for home and about ancestors and heirlooms. A pilgrimage certificate promoted stories of journeys and achieving goals. An 8-bit Sega Mastersystem cartridge conjured memories of childhood when it was already considered ‘retro’. This was a big part of its appeal. What was life like for young people growing up without the internet?

Walter’s replica Viking lock took a surprising turn once the class had marvelled at its workmanship and physicality. Who made it? It was Walter who made it, 10 years ago, while volunteering in the smithy of a Viking museum. Looking for more meaning in his life than he was getting at school, working at the museum gave him a new passion which he holds to this day.

Such richness of interpretation encouraged the class to have more conversations with each other. It felt like the large gap that many experience between themselves and the museums they use, work in or visit, will begin to narrow once these and other students apply their experience of their course to their practice.

Dr. Tehmina Goskar FMA

Director & Curator

Curators Institute

 

 

 

 

 

Museologian kesäkurssi: ekskursio Kaakkois-Suomeen

Kirjoittaja: Joanna Veinio

Helteisenä toukokuun tiistaina starttasi jo varhain aamulla runsaan 30 opiskelijan joukko päiväretkelle Kaakkois-Suomeen. Kohteiksi oli valikoitunut linnoituksia sekä kivikirkkoja. Kyse oli Avoimen yliopiston monitieteisen opintojakson ”Näkökulmia keskiajan ilmiöihin teemana Kaakkois-Suomi” –ekskursiosta.

Matkan ensimmäisen kohteen Sipoon vanhan kirkon (1450-1455) interiööriä hallitsevat pilarit, jotka kannattelevat uniikkia holvausta. Se on yhdistelmä kolmi-, kaksi- ja 2,5 laivaisuutta, varsinainen ”hässäkkä”. Kirkon rakentaja on mestarillisesti onnistunut muuntamaan jo aloitetun kirkon rakennetta. Sisätilassa on mm. yksittäisiä hautavaakunoita, rakentajamaalauksia sekä tilan tunnelmaa hallitseva 1700-luvun loppupuolelta peräisin oleva nupulakivilattia. Vain tämä kirkko edusti matkallamme harmaakirkkoperinnettä sillä kaksi muuta kirkkokohdettamme samoin kuin Porvoon kirkko edustavat keskiajalle alkuperäisempää valkoiseksi kalkittua tapaa.

Sipoosta matkamme jatkui Porvoon Isolle Linnamäelle, jossa Georg Haggrénin johdolla tutustuimme linnan vieläkin näkyvillä oleviin rakenteisiin. Paikka on tunnettu myös Albert Edelfeltin (1854–1905) Porvoo Linnanmäeltä nähtynä -maalauksesta. Nykyajan matkailijallakin on mahdollisuus nähdä sama maisema tosin hieman muuntuneena.

Jo hieman nälkäinen joukkomme jaksoi innostuneena tutustua Pernajan kirkkoon (1435-1445), jonka restaurointi on vuodelta 1938. Kirkko on kaunis yhdistelmä keskiaikaa sekä uutta aikaa. Keskiaikaan viittaavat triumfikrusifiksi, kasteallas sekä 1400-luvun kalkkimaalaukset, joita on otettu esille sekä maalattu peittoon vuosisatojen aikana. Minulle kirkon mieleenpainuvin elementti on uuden ajan alkupuolen kerrostuma, josta kertovat mm. saarnastuoli, hautalaaka sekä hautavaakunat. Kirkko, joka on valitettavan harvoin auki, jää siten kätketyksi helmeksi.

Kirkkojen ketjun katkaisi käynti Svartholman merilinnoituksella, johon ryhmämme siirtyi lyhyen matkan avomoottoriveneellä. Näin turistikauden ulkopuolella saari oli melkein yksin meillä. Vain yksittäinen puutarhatyöntekijä oli paikalla. Tunnelma saaressa on kuin Suomenlinnassa, mutta pienemmässä koossa. Yhdistävät piirteet eivät ole sattumaa, sillä Svartholman linnoitustyöt aloitettiin vuonna 1748 Suomenlinnasta tutun Augustin Ehrensvärdin suunnitelmien pohjalta. Molempien linnoitusten kohtalotkin ovat hyvin samankaltaiset 1800-luvun aikana. Varmasti saari jäi muidenkin matkalaisten mieleen erikoisena kokemuksena: aurinkoinen ilma, aava meri ja hämmentävä rauha.

Viimeinen kirkkokohde oli Pyhtään kirkko (n. 1460), joka myöskin avattiin erikseen ryhmäämme varten. Kirkon kalkkimaalaukset edustavat useita eri maalausryhmiä ilmeisesti eri tekijöiden eri aikoina tekemiä. Puuveistoksista erityisesti jäi mieleeni keskiajan aikana Pyhäksi Henrikiksi muunnettu pyhimysveistos. Lisäämällä pyhän Nikolauksen (?) jalkoihin Lalli saadaan aikaiseksi aivan uusi identiteetti. Asehuoneessa oli esillä keskiaikainen matka-alttarikaappi, joka oli kokenut 1800-luvun restauroinnissa aivan toisenlaisen muodonmuutoksen. Kuten Pernajassa myös Pyhtäällä on nähtävillä Uuden ajan alkupuolen kerrostumat massiivisine alttarilaitteineen, saarnastuoleineen sekä hautakappelin muodossa.

Viimeisenä kohteena kävimme vielä Stengärdsbergetin jatulintarhalla katsomassa tätä herkkää ja mystistä muinaisjäännöstyyppiä. Tämä matkamme viimeinen kohde kiinnittyi myös matkamme kivikirkkoihin, joista löytyy tämä samainen symboli: Sipoon kirkossa on rakentajamaalauksena spiraali, jonka sisällä näkyy ihmishahmo.

Ekskursio ja siihen liittyvät asiantuntijaluennot kertovat siitä kuinka monen eri oppiaineen asiasisältöjä voidaan hyödyntää osana opetusta käyttäen ilmiöpohjaisen oppimisen keinoja. Samaa kohdetta voi tarkastella useista eri ja samalla lomittaisesta näkökulmasta. Lisäksi oppiminen voidaan siirtää ulos luokkatilasta ja samalla se voi olla kokemuksena rikas ja antoisa.

#HYAVOIN #OPPIMINENTEKEEHYVÄÄ

Lähteet:

Hiekkanen, Markus 2007. Suomen keskiajan kivikirkot. Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran toimituksia 1117. Tampere.

Utterström, Anita 1989. Pernå kyrka – Pernajan kirkko. Pernå församling. Pernå.

Tervetuloa Svartholmaan verkkosivu https://visitsvartholm.fi/ Luettu 30.5.2018

 

Museologian kesäkurssit – ekskursioita ja asiantuntijaluentoja

Miltä kuulostaisi veneretki Svartholmaan tai bussimatka Kankaisten kartanolinnaan? Avoimen yliopiston monitieteisillä kesäkursseilla pääset lähestymään keskiaikaa ekskursioiden ja asiantuntijaluentojen merkeissä.

Näkökulmia keskiajan ilmiöihin, teemana Kaakkois-Suomi –kurssin ekskursiolla vieraillaan muun muassa Svartholman merilinnoituksella, jonne siirrytään avomoottoriveneellä, sekä Sipoon ja Pernajan kirkoilla. Kurssin asiantuntijaluennoilla käsitellään esimerkiksi keskiajan maaseutua, keskiaikaista asutusta ja keskiaikaisia pyhimyskultteja. Kurssilla luennoiva Tuuli Heinonen kuvailee kurssin sisältöjä osuvasti seuraavasti:

Omasta mielestäni kurssi on kaikkiaan todella mielenkiintoinen tilaisuus päästä tutustumaan yliopistolla harvemmin esiin nostettuun Kaakkois-Suomen keskiajan historiaan, eli odotan sitä ainakin itse innolla! Omalla luennollaan Tuuli pyrkii nostamaan esiin etenkin tuoreeseen tutkimukseen perustuvia näkökulmia Kaakkois-Suomen keskiaikaiseen asutukseen.

Kartanoläänejä ja kirkkoja Varsinais-Suomessa –kurssilla puolestaan tehdään bussimatka ja tutustutaan muun muassa Louhisaaren kartanoon, Kankaisten kartanolinnaan sekä Raision ja Maarian kirkkoihin. Kurssin luennoilla pohditaan esimerkiksi avioliittojen yhdistämiä ja valtataistelun erottamia aatelisia mahtisukuja sekä rahankäyttöä keskiajalla.

Molempien kurssien suoritustapoina ovat vapaaehtoinen ekskursio, luennot (5*3h) ja essee. Esseen aihe valitaan sen mukaisesti, mihin aineeseen jakson suorittaa. Esseiden aiheet sovitaan luennon aikana ja tarjolla myös valmiita aiheita.

Ilmoittautuminen opinto-ohjelmissa:

Tervetuloa opiskelemaan!

Hyvä tietää: Avoimen yliopiston kesäopetus on maksutonta ilmoittautumishetkellä läsnä oleville Helsingin yliopiston perustutkinto-opiskelijoille. (Maksuttomuus ei koske ekskursion materiaalimaksua 15 euroa.) Myös lukuvuosiopetuksessa on maksuttomia kiintiöitä Helsingin yliopiston perustutkinto-opiskelijoille. Tarkat tiedot ja ohjeet löytyvät opinto-ohjelmista. Yhteydenottolomake

#HYAVOIN #OPPIMINENTEKEEHYVÄÄ

Siina Nieminen
Koulutusasiantuntija
Helsingin yliopiston Avoin yliopisto

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.

https://vtshome.org/

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.

 

 

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!

Ei haittaa, jos kynnenaluset likaantuvat

Ympyrä on sulkeutunut ja olen 1990-luvun opiskeluvuosien jälkeen palannut yliopistolle opettajan roolissa. Oma matkani Suuressa museossa alkoi taidehistoriasta ja siirtyi konservoinnin kautta museologiaan. Takana on useita vuosia erilaisia museotehtäviä ja matkakilometrejä – ihan arjen taidetyötä. On ollut rikkaus saada tutustua kulttuuriperintöömme monen ammattialan perspektiivistä, oli sitten kyseessä kansainvälinen näyttelytoiminta ja kuratointi, luupin ja 000-siveltimen avulla tehty restaurointimaalaus, paikallispoliitikkojen kulttuuritietämys tai suuren taidekokoelman säilytys ja tulevaisuus. Lopulta omaksi tieteenalaksi vakiintui museologia. Koen sen monialaiseksi siltatieteeksi, joka nivoo loistavalla tavalla teorian ja käytännön. Ei ole tieteelle haitaksi, jos kynnenaluset joskus likaantuvat. Parhaimmillaan teoriatausta toimii museotyössä arjen motivaattorina, mutta teorian on myös tukeuduttava koettuun käytäntöön. Tällöin syntyy dialogia, jolloin teoriaverkoston tuottamilla tuloksilla on mahdollisuus rantautua osaksi oikeaa museotyötä. Tämä on asia, jonka toivon välittyvän kaikille museologian opiskelijoille. Nyt jo näkee, että heissä on paljon voimaa ajatella ja tuottaa alalle järeitä mielipiteitä. Museologia on aine, joka kiinnostaa opiskelijoita yli pääainerajojen. Jokainen opiskelija rikastuttaa keskustelua oman alansa näkökulmilla, mutta vie myös museologian tietämystä omille kollegoilleen. Ehkä voimme jossakin vaiheessa tulevaisuudessa sanoa, että museologia kuuluu kaikille!

Nina Robbins / 30.9.2017