Abstracts 4/2015

This issue of Museo focuses on futurism. It is evident that the operating environment of museums is changing more rapidly than ever before. That fact is also included in the operating environment analysis of the Finnish Museums Association. The analysis spans all the way to the 2020s. It is up to museums to decide whether rapid change is good news or bad news. In the editorial, Kimmo Levä, secretary general of the Finnish Museums Association, encourages museums to regard the future with a positive mindset. Museums need to be ready to experiment, and they also need to learn to fail more often, more quickly and more economically.

At the moment, the financial situation in Finland is not particularly good, which also has an impact on museums. This theme is first addressed in an extensive review by Tuomo Tamminen on the funding of museums. The museums in Varkaus are an example of this; their operations have become narrower for many years. After 2008, the number of permanent staff at museums in Varkaus has been reduced from eight to five, and the art museum had to relocate to smaller facilities. The article also investigates how the Finnish state subsidy system supports museum operations.

The magazine also focuses on new funding channels for museums. The Finnish Museum of Games, which will open in the Vapriikki museum centre in Tampere, strengthened its finances through a crowdfunding campaign. This is rare at the global level. The income from the campaign will be allocated to purchase playable games for the collection. The major reason for launching the campaign was that the staff did not want to start the museum without providing games that could be played. Can you even understand games without playing them? One of the reasons for crowdfunding was that it made it possible to investigate the demand for the museum project in advance.

The new Amos Anderson Art Museum is another example of renewed museums. It will open in spring 2018 in Lasipalatsi and will be the final touch to the contemporary art cluster in the centre of Helsinki. The road to the new museum was paved through strategy work which covered the development of the art museum's operations. The existing museum building was considered to be impractical as exhibition content has become more diverse and extensive. The new building will be funded 100% by Konstsamfundet, which is responsible for the art museum's operations.

Museum professions are facing changes, too. The demand for museum services is continuously increasing in society; people are more and more interested in museums, and museums are investing more and more heavily in services for visitors. Sanna Lipponen has investigated how the changing competence needs have been accounted for in museology training. Museology professionals are required to be multitalented and have communication skills. Financial competence is also underlined more and more.

Future museum professions will also be impacted by the fact that open data has become more common. In the cultural heritage sector, it is represented by the Finna service, which will make material from Finnish museums, libraries and archives available to everyone. Finna.fi is an online service where you can find material from archives, museums and libraries with a single search. When searching, you don´t need to know which museum has a specific item, photo or document. Finna material can be used as information sources or as inspiration for new works.

The magazine also focuses on the job descriptions of future researchers. Ethnologist Maija Mäki shares information about her research methods, which include scenario workshops. Customer panels also make it possible to chart possible, likely, impossible and unwanted future prospects. The future can also be put in concrete terms by different games and visual observation methods.

Futurology researchers do not aim to look into the future, but they do want to have an impact on future progress. Mäki encourages museums to actively work towards their own future. She is calling for the museum sector to express its views more visibly and for bold museum professionals who are also visible to the public. They should establish as broad networks of contacts as possible.

The exhibition review covers the renovated and recently reopened Helsinki Art Museum, where the opening exhibition introduces works by Ai Weiwei, a Chinese contemporary artist. The museum has also updated its concept to cater for the needs of modern urban residents. The international article covers a joint storage facility for museums in Glasgow, which the public can tour. The Glasgow Museums Resource Centre organises more than 700 visits a year: public, theme and expert tours, workshops, projects for schoolchildren, and guided tours and workshops for families.