History and Present Studies Research Links Staff Contact Suomeksi



Contact information:

Unioninkatu 38 D 230, 2nd floor.

Mailing address:
Study Programme Museology
P.O. Box 59
00014 University of Helsinki

Tel. +358 (0) 2941 21770

University Lecturer:
Anna Wessman
e-mail: anna.wessman[at]



Museum studies before the current syllabus

Already in the 1960’s some teaching was given in the University in museum work related topics. The Department of Ethnology gave an 8-10 hour course in museum technology two times per year. In the late 1960’s this course contained 25 hours and was organised together with the Finnish Museums Association, dealing with general museology, Finnish museums, and museum work.

In the 1970’s, the Department of Ethnology continued giving short courses in e.g. museum technology and ethnographic photography. In the spring of 1973, the departments of Ethnology and Archaeology organised a shared course in museum studies, dealing with e.g. exhibition lightning and security. The following autumn, the Department of Art History organised a course in museum work together with the National Art Gallery, the Helsinki City Museum, and the National Board of Antiquities.

Various departments dealt with museum work related topics in connection with their teaching of other subjects. E.g. the Department of Archaeology had started working together with the National Museum in the 1970’s, organising visits to exhibitions and archaeological digs. The Department of Ethnology organised museum and fieldwork courses already in the 1960’s, and an integral part of the studies was a practical training period in a museum. The Department of Art History had included museum visits in the basic studies, and courses in museum work, fieldwork, and milieu studies in the intermediate studies of the syllabus. The Department of Finnish History had included museum work related topics in their courses on Finnish pre-history and cultural history.

From 1974 until the early 1990’s, a course (4 study weeks) in museum technology was organised by the Departments of Archaeology, Art History, and Ethnology. In the 1980’s, this course was aimed at students oriented towards museum work as continuing education, given as part of the general studies within the Faculty of Arts. The Departments of Archaeology, Art History, and Ethnology all continued including museum work related topics in their other courses. Short courses in Museology were included in the syllabuses of Ethnology and Art History.

Museology Study Programme

Since the 1970’s, many committees have deliberated on the teaching of museum work, inside the University and on a national level. In January 1992, based on various committee reports, the Heads of the Departments of Archaeology, Art History, Ethnology, and History made a proposal to the Faculty of Arts of the University for organising a twenty study week programme in Museology. One of the main arguments was that other universities in Finland already offered this alternative, thus placing the students of the University of Helsinki at a disadvantage when seeking employment. The proposed syllabus was based on already existing teaching in the Departments. The Faculty of Arts approved the proposal in March 1992.

The teaching for the Study Programme was organised by the four Departments behind the proposal. The number of new students would be limited to fifteen per year, and they would be majoring in some of the four subjects. In 1998 Anne Ala-Pöllänen, assistant researcher in Maritime History, was assigned by the Faculty of Arts to make a proposal for organising studies in Museology in the University. The Dean of the Faculty of Arts was presented the proposal in April 1998, also signed by the Heads of the Departments of Archaeology, Art History, Ethnology, and History.

The teaching according to the new syllabus started in the autumn of 1998. At the start of 1999, a tenure for an Amanuensis was created within the Department of Cultural Studies for Maritime history and Museology, held by Anne Ala-Pöllänen. Since august 2003 the tenure for a Senior Lecturer for Museology was created the first official being docent Marja-Liisa Rönkkö.

Current syllabus

In autumn 2004 the syllabus that was created was following the Bologna treaty. The Study Programme is planned for a year and a half period. During the first term, the courses for Basic Studies (25 study points) are to be taken, and the courses for Intermediate Studies (35 study points) the following two terms. New students are enrolled every one and a half year, next time for the spring term of 2015.