Traffic museums projects address the core issues of inclusion and democracy

lokakuu 15, 2020

The projects funded by the National Board of Antiquities’ innovative projects develop tools and operating models that give voice to new groups of people and make the information held by museums more accessible to society.

– The work of museums has a huge impact on how people perceive society around them. Therefore, it is not insignificant what is presented and stored, and who decides on it, says Johanna Vähäpesola, Experience and Learning Manager at the Museum of Technology.

In the Museum of Technology’s Koesorvaamo project, museum work will now be used on its head: in the future, the decision on what is worth presenting and recording in technology will not be made primarily by museum experts but by communities and audiences together with the museum.

The project brings together an extensive network. Professionals and students in the field, from manufacturers to guardians as well as users of technology, will be invited. The aim is to highlight perspectives that have been easily hidden in the past.

– The diverse content created by co-development is helping more and more people to understand that technology is part of their lives. They are a counterweight to development, where some people remain socially excluded as technology advances.

One of the goals of the test lathe is to promote, through cooperation between educational institutions, that the future experts in the field of technology are a socially and culturally diverse network.

– The industry must be diversified so that the products and services of the future serve different users, Vähäpesola emphasizes.

The role of museums as guardians of information is diminishing

The project of the Postal Museum, the Media Museum Rupriikki and the Game Museum brings the sources of information to everyone’s property. The project, Promoting the Availability and Usability of Archives in Museums, is developing methods to make digital materials available for a variety of needs.

– When information is democratized, it must meet its needs without the museum acting as a seeker or interpreter, says Mikko Nykänen, an information expert at the Postal Museum.

Both the democratization of knowledge and the participation of the public are also at the heart of the Railway Museum’s project: it is piloting methods for collecting information through civics.
The idea is that the tools come from the museum and the perspectives come from the volunteers.

– The change in the world is so rapid that the co-operation of museums with background communities can no longer be built on occasional experiments. An abundance of perspectives is needed so that future generations can also experience history as their own and get information from museums to influence society, says Marina Bergström, exhibition manager.

The Postal Museum, Media Museum and Game Museum project will introduce tools that can revolutionize humanistic research. Digitized materials have been a big step forward in accessibility, but they require as much time and interpretation skills as paper documents. OCR tools take digitalization beyond that.

– With the help of them, it is possible to get mechanical processing of the material in the research and thus new types of results, Nykänen says.

In the Railway Museum project, digitalisation, in turn, revolutionizes volunteering: you can participate regardless of time and place, and information is obtained from an ever-widening crowd.

– Information can also be used by others really quickly, Bergström says.

The projects will start in the autumn, and more information on their content will be available on the museums’ websites after the summer.