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Day II: Museum Advisory and Supporting Work in the Nordic Countries


Randi Ertesvåg, Norway

pdf Randi Ertesvåg EMAC (1.02 MB) [PDF]


Born  Ålesund, Norway Nov. 26, 1952


Cand.mag. (lower degree) Trondheim University 1976 (German, English, History)

Diploma of Education Trondheim University 1977

Cand.philol. (higher degree) Bergen University 1991 (thesis in history)

Primary Art History (1 year) Bergen University 1994



2008 – present Director Museum Department Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority

2003 – 2007 Director Department of Strategy and Planning Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority

2002 Deputy Director Norwegian Museum Authority

1999 – 2002 Head of Education and Outreach Department Norwegian Museum Authority

1997 – 1999 Curator Stavanger Maritime Museum

1996 – 1997 Head of project ”Norwegian museums in international co-operation” Norwegian Museum Authority

1994 – 1996 Acting Director Stavanger Maritime Museum  Substitute Director Stavanger Museum

1989 – 1993 Curator Stavanger Maritime Museum

1988 – 1989 Museum Educator Stavanger Museum

1978 – 1987 Teacher Norway and Great Britain

Abstract: Museums for the future

The museum landscape in Norway consits of more than 800 large and small institutions, from the National Museum of Art in Oslo to the North Cape Museum. More than 10 mill. people visit the museums every year.

The main goal of the governmental museum policy is to strengthen the role of museums as independent and active participants in society. To achieve this, the Ministry of Culture, together with The Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority, has carried out a large-scale Museum Reform during the last 8 years. The Reform consists of several strategies:

A structural revolution
Creating larger units with a broader professional and financial base, which involves merging museums into larger regional units (consolidation). The number of institutions covered by the budget of the Ministry of Culture has been decreased from approx. 350 to 70. The museums shall have their own, independent scope of action, at arm’s length from the public authorities.

Economic incentives
The Government has provided economic incentives to achieve this change, with a total increase of approx. 50 % in annual funding during 2002-2010.

Encourage museums to take an active part in society
The whitepaper “Museums for the future” (approved March 2010), goes further into strategies for improving museums as institutions relevant to society, capable of providing deeper knowledge, interest and reflection. Other key terms are dialogue, inclusion and tolerance.

The paper will elaborate on the above-mentioned museum policy, and in addition present some examples of activities supported by the Government, including digital storytelling, the Cultural Rucksack (arts and culture at school), national minorities and cultural diversity.


Knut Wik, Norway

pdf Knut Wik EMAC (1.91 MB) [PDF]


Knut Wik, Advisor, Department of Regional Development, Sør-Trøndelag County Authority and Chair/President of the Advisory Committee, International Council of Museums (ICOM)

I have since 2002 been in the position as Advisor and Museum Coordinator in Sør-Trøndelag County. Before that I was Head of Museum Services in Sør-Trøndelag County (since 1989). The change of position came at the same time as the national authorities were going to implement the museum reform in Norway, decided by the National Parliament.

Abstract: Museum advisory in the process of a national reform – seen from a region

Up to 1990, 28 museums in the County of Sør-Trøndelag received funds from both national and regional authorities.  In 1990 we were down to eight museums, and now in 2010 we are down to only one. The eight museums have become one organisation, “The Museums in Sør-Trøndelag”, which is one of the biggest museums in Norway, including two former national museums and a new national museum of rock and popular music, Rockheim. This process has been a long and turbulent one.  The challenge for me, as a museum adviser, has been to balance a strong political involvement and a strong and often emotional engagement from different parts of the museum sector.


Ole Winther, Denmark

pdf Ole Winther EMAC (1.64 MB) [PDF]


Ole Winther was born 1970. He has since 2007 been Head of Museums Department at the National Heritage Agency of Denmark. Before that he was Head of Secretariate at the Danish Bacon and Meat Council and he has had various positions at the Danish Ministry of Education.

Master of Fine Arts and History and Master of Management Development

Member of the board of INTERCOM, ICOM´s International Committee on Management

Member of the expert group of the Nordic Culture Fond on museums and cultural heritage.

Abstract: A Snapshot of life at the Danish Museums

An administrative reform, effective January 1, 2007 replaced the 13 counties with 5 regions. The 270 municipalities were consolidated into 98 larger units, most of which have at least 20,000 inhabitants. The reason was to give greater financial and professional sustainability to the new municipalities.

This change has influenced all parts of the Danish society - also the area of culture and museums. In the last 5 years the number of state funded museums has decreased from more than 160 to current 116 merging into a structure that resembles the Danish society.

The Danish minister of Culture has therefore initiated the creation of a major analysis of the Danish museums, which probably will lead to the proposal of a new museum bill in the Danish parliament in 2011.

The primary goal of the governmental museum policy is to strengthen the role of museums as active participants in society, and the report will propose a museum structure, that supports this policy.

My paper will elaborate on the above-mentioned museum policy and reform work and present a snap shot of life at the Danish Museums.


Jan Sparreboom & Marc Wingens, the Netherlands

pdf J Sparreboom M Wingens EMAC (994 KB) [PDF]

Jan Sparreboom CV

Jan Sparreboom (1953) studied medieval history and archeology at the University of Amsterdam.

In 1984 he started as a curator of the collections of several local, historic museums in the region Waterland (north of Amsterdam).  In 1991 he became museum advisor for 30 museums in the northern part of Noord-Holland.

In 1998 he joined Museaal & Historisch Perspectief Noord-Holland (MHP), the central organization for museum support in the province. In 2006 MHP merged with the heritage organization for archeology and monuments into the new heritage body Cultureel Erfgoed Noord-Holland, where he now works as advisor historic information and quality, museum and collection management.

Marc Wingens CV 

Dr. Marc Wingens (1964)

Study: history at Utrecht University

PhD: Erasmus University (Rotterdam)

Current profession: managing director of Stichting Gelders Erfgoed (Gelderland Heritage Foundation)

Abstract: Museum consultants and developments and trends in Netherlands: A broad heritage demands a heritage advisors

1 Governments are continuously reflecting on their core tasks – as are the provinces which, as the intermediate management layer between the municipality and national government, suffer from poor recognition by the general public and are therefore under considerable pressure to raise their profile. The provincial authorities view cultural heritage as their core responsibility, but would like to enhance their role and exercise greater influence on cultural policy. Consequently provincial governments want to act as the direct principal for projects, putting projects out to tender themselves – including using funds that are earmarked for cultural support services. Provincial resources tend to be used in a more project-based and incidental way, rather than being structured via support services.

2 Provincial authorities, which have up till now made organised museum support possible in the Netherlands, now prefer to support the entire heritage sector, not just museums in particular. On these grounds heritage bodies are being established in which museum consultancies (e.g. in the provinces of Zuid-Holland, Utrecht and Overijssel) no longer function or are recognised as such.

3 Museums are seeking to collaborate more in projects with partners from other social sectors: tourism, civic integration services, community centres, hospitals, residential care homes and regional planning bodies. This stems from the awareness that the museum has a social function to fulfil and that the windows to the outside world must be opened yet further.

4 The concept of cultural biography is being introduced in more and more areas. Social groups in sectors such as tourism and care and politics are appropriating this concept. Narrating, telling, remembering, reminiscing, oral history, removing the boundaries between high and low culture, folk culture, localisation versus globalisation, the inclusion of intangible heritage (customs, traditions, songs) – these are all themes which are given a broader perspective by museums and other heritage bodies through their reflection on the function and use of their collections.

5 Canonisation – both national and provincial, local or thematic - has arisen from a social need for benchmarking and for preserving values and identity. This illustrates the tendency within education, upbringing, social intercourse and culture to identify factors which bind people together, or at least which should do so. Both tangible and intangible heritage are used to define these factors.

6 Through digitalisation, improved access and the increased scope of the internet, the public both exercises and is subject to increasing influence outside of the traditional boundaries of the museum with respect to the nature and use of cultural heritage.


Terttu Pellikka, Finland

[pdf EMAC Pellikka (45.6 KB)]

Abstract: The Northern Ostrobothnia Museum and its regional programmes 


In 1980, the National Board of Antiquities designated the very first provincial museums. Museum districts were defined for each provincial museum while state funding provided them an opportunity to establish a position for a researcher in charge of provincial museum work.  Today, provincial museum work is based on a four-year plan mutually agreed upon with the National Board of Antiquities. Once the provincial museums were included in the programme of central government transfers to local governments, museums employed a building researcher and an archaeologist. Provincial museums are important co-operating partners for the National Board of Antiquities and some of them have entered into a cooperation agreement already in 1990's. The National Board of Antiquities and the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum have continued their cooperation agreement on the protection of cultural environment and agreed on cooperation and division of work relating to building heritage research, listing and protection as well as restoration. 


The Northern Ostrobothnia Museum is a provincial museum of cultural history covering Oulu and Northern Ostrobothnia regions. Provincial museum work is one of the focus points in the strategy plan produced by the City Cultural Board. The strategic goals of the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum are to safeguard the preservation of the cultural heritage in Oulu and Northern Ostrobothnia as well as to produce and to provide cultural services in a manner that enhances an appreciative approach to local identity, past generations’ work and cultural environment.  


Northern Ostrobothnia is the second largest province in Finland. The region consists of 34 municipalities with approximately 50 local museums managed by non-museologists.  Most of the museums are local heritage museums preserving farming culture; approximately two thirds of these are municipality owned and one third owned by local heritage associations.  In our region, a medium to large open-air museum is most common, i.e. a homestead museum with its courtyard and approximately 10 to 20 outbuildings with utensils. The number of items in collections varies from approximately five hundred up to approximately seven thousand. To manage archive material and photographs, archives for local heritage have been set up in municipalities. In addition to open-air museums, there are magazine museums and specialised museums, e.g. museums celebrating a famous person, school museums and museums exhibiting art.


The goal of provincial museum programmes is to enhance the museological level of local museums in the region and promote cooperation and division of work of museums. A regional curator’s task is to guide local museums:  acquisition, care and documentation of collections, development of exhibitions, planning of museum facilities, restoration of museum buildings, and management of photograph and local heritage archives. A regional curator working in a provincial museum may provide statements about local museums as well as their work and quality for the authorities, owners and media. When necessary a regional curator participates in his capacity as an expert in the meetings of the museums administrative body.   Local museums can apply for a discretionary grant from the National Board of Antiquities and in such a case, the researcher shall monitor the use of the grant.


In the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum, the building researchers take part in official meetings relating to municipal land use planning and give statements on matters relating to land use planning, assessment of buildings of cultural and historical interest, condition and demolishment as well as on matters relating to cultural environment. Building researchers advise and instruct with the restoration of old buildings; they also work as supervisors in restoration projects receiving aid from the National Board of Antiquities.  Moreover, they attend educational events relating to the cultural environment in the region as educators.


A part-time archaeologist carries out inventories on relics and antiquities, inspects areas in relation to land use and participates in land use meetings and provides statements on land use planning. The archaeologist also accepts notifications of relics, accept and catalogue artefacts, prepare reports on inventories and investigation processes.


Northern Ostrobothnia Centre for Restoration locates in the premises of our museum employing an architect specialising on restoration and advising on repairs and restoration of both old and new buildings.


The most important cooperation partners, in addition to the National Board of Antiquities and municipalities, are the Northern Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Council of Oulu Region and the local heritage associations running museums. Our provincial museum participated in the development of a regional inventory application called Kiosk, which we launched in 2005. The purpose of the application is not only to improve the accessibility of information relating to the management of environment with cultural and historical interest but also to produce a regional register to provide the authorities with up-to-date information of the state of the cultural heritage environment.


The implementation of Kiosk application offers an opportunity to carry out inventories on the museum buildings of local museums. Between 2005 and 2006 we filed data of all the museums and buildings in the museum facilities into the application. Basic information about 368 museum buildings has been recorded into the data system. Records have enabled the evaluation of cultural and historical interest of various museums and individual museum buildings. The administrative bodies of local museums have been informed of the cultural and historical interest of such museums and buildings. The purpose of the process is to enhance the preservation of these places by providing information about their value. Condition assessment reports, based on the inventories, were produced for the museums and included recommendation for necessary procedures. 


The local museums in our region house approximately 80,000 objects with manually produced catalogues. As the collections increase, the museums have started to transform data to electronic form. We have handed out free copies of Access-based cataloguing software to the local museums and hope to have collections catalogued and entered into the cataloguing application to enhance collection access and develop work on inventories. Some local museums have applied for discretionary government grant from the National Board of Antiquities and with the help of the grant hired Oulu University museology students to enter collection data into the application.


Development of local museums will continue in our region with museum collection surveys. We have developed an Access-based application for the inventories of collections in local museums. Our target is to implement the software to survey the quality, structure and local representation of object collections as well as their need for conservation in the museums in the region. At the same time, we aim to develop a tool for local museums for the management of their collections. With the aid of the basic report compiled by the application, the target is to provide the local museums with an opportunity to focus their resources on the objects that are most valuable for the collection and in primary need of measures.


We organise provincial museum symposiums as necessary for local museums.  These events give the museums a chance to learn about the others’ practice and receive current information about the development of museology.


We have also had various EU projects in our region. In the 1990’s we launched the Museum Project in which I took part as a member of the steering group and currently I am a member of the steering group of a project managed by Metsähallitus and developing cultural heritage destinations in Ostrobothnia.  Next year, we will launch in our region a Local Heritage in Time project which focuses on the development of local museums. The local heritage archives system is in the middle of a project to digitalise archived material. Our region hosts a number of EU projects relating to the management of cultural environments and various committees in the steering groups of which our building researchers participate.


Michael Turnpenny, UK

pdf Michael Turnpenny EMAC (139 KB) [PDF]


Michael is the Museum Development Manager for Renaissance Yorkshire and is responsible for the delivery of the regional museum development programme. He manages a team of four development officers who have responsibility for working with all regional museums and in ensuring that they meet the UK's Museum Accreditation Standard. Michael works closely with colleagues in the MLA to support the strategic development of the sector and its engagement with the local government improvement agenda.

Previously Michael was Regional Museums Adviser for MLA Yorkshire and a Museum Development Officer for East Riding of Yorkshire Council. 

He is a highly committed and engaged cultural sector professional with experience of operating at a managerial level within local government, non-departmental public bodies and the private sector. Michael has a track record in delivering organisational development and fundraising through managing medium-term programmes with complex delivery structures. He is experienced in both network and team management with internal and external partners. Michael has a broad understanding of the public policy agenda with specific expertise in the cultural sector.

Abstract:  Valuing Museums: Advisers, museums and local government improvement

As museum advisers we all understand the value of culture within our communities but are aware that this is not always recognised by key stakeholders. This paper will refer to the work of DEMOS to explore how concepts of value relate to the museum sector. Building from cultural theory, the paper will look at the strengths and weaknesses of value/impact assessment tools developed or promoted by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council. The final section of the paper will outline how museum advisers in Yorkshire are working to improve the position of museums within local government (municipality).


Joaquim Jorge, Portugal

pdf Joaquim Jorge EMAC (6.65 MB) [PDF]


Joaquim Jorge (1972) studied Antropology, Culture Heritage and Identities at the University Institute of Management Social Sciences and Technologies in Lisbon.

In 1991 he started as an assistant at the Local Public Authority, Cultural Heritage and Museums. His position held were Ethnography Sector, Photo Archive and Investigation and Research Sector. In 2002 he became Anthropologist at the Research Department. His responsible was developing Social history and Anthropology research projects. Since 2005 his position held is at Project Development Unit. His responsible is preparing and developing cultural projects for municipal museums, seeking national funding and European grants.  

Abstract: Loures Museums experience with EU programmes

Before presenting three or four experiences Loures Municipal Museums Network developed (or are still implementing) I would like to present a few guidelines of concerns I consider of crucial importance for those in museums willing to expand their audiences, raise support and find extra funding for their activities.

Loures municipal museums experience using European Union programmes is not very significant from the financial point of view, nonetheless during these last eight years we have learned a lot and it is about this learning experience I want to share a few thoughts with you today. It is, one might say, an open and continuous learning process.

First of all, the way we think our working routines have slightly changed, when preparing an European project idea we have to think about possible partners to cooperate with.

Second, the project idea needs to be well defined but also both flexible and open enough to embrace other partners’ inputs.

Third the project develops itself trying to address European Union wants & needs, we realize we have to relay and trust on each partner vision because we need to tackle a huge diversity of items; this, to mention only three of the major philosophical changes.

Preparing such a project while planning a wide set of actions requires organising different working groups responsible for delivering specific tasks. Although a coordinator is always welcome, the way the guidelines are set, it is like a kind of an open method of coordination based on: jointly indentifying methodologies, objectives, results and outputs to be achieved; jointly establishing assessment strategies, tangible indicators and measuring instruments; constantly comparison of the similarities and differences in scale, region/country of the joint partnership; concepts such as “accountability” and “sustainability” become part of European project idea. I have to confess these were all brand new some eight years ago!

This new way of organising and planning the work demands a profound rethink of the traditional planning structure, usually centralised and managed by a small group of individuals. Another major difference, it is the need to use other languages besides Portuguese, the project idea demands for an open and truly participative process, highly adaptable, inter-dependable, even the simplest actions will be executed by a vast array of different agents in different geographical locations within Europe. Very quickly I realized there were other meanings to concepts so simple as “communication” or “organisation” or “dialogue” among all the partners involved and we all need to be addressing the same set of concerns and problems with a shared vision. I must add it is not always easy.

In the end I think we all learned how to do our work a little bit better. Plus, the things we used to do didn’t really changed that much, it is just the way we think and we prepare things now that’s broaden-up and good to use Europe wide.

Traditionally the decisions on how, what and when things were made inside museums (and still are in many!) were controlled by a restrict leading group, considered to be composed by those individuals more prepared and better suited to guide all planning actions. Many times these set of actions were inconsistent and/or disconnected from everyday life and quite often also disconnected from the reality of the communities museums are implemented. Well some museums are still managed in this conservative way.

I realised if you want your project idea to succeed you have to address European Union agenda. And if you want to attract new audiences you need to provide the proper mechanisms [Richard Sandell talks about “enforcing mechanisms”] for your communities to participate in the planning and execution process within your museum.

Using José Custódio original thought: “These changes are somehow a change in the axis of the problems”.

Using a Jane Jacobs sentence about cities the main view is: “cities [such as museums] have the capacity of providing something for everybody only because and only when they are created by everybody”, if you are committed to engage with your local communities, your project will be success. When people see themselves inside the museum, a lot can change within the community.

The first example I want to share with you today addresses the power museums have to change the way people perceive their lives and the place where they live. Back in 1996, Loures Municipal Museum prepared a temporary exhibition named “A walk by the streets and places of Loures” specially conceived to address something that, at the time, was neither trendy nor politically correct, especially in Portugal: intercultural coexistence within a municipal territory. It started, such as the catalogue I have here with me, by presenting archaeological evidence of different religions living together and sharing the same resources, then the voice was given (for the 1st time ever!) to the different migrant communities. Both the exhibition and the catalogue were produced in five different languages: Gujarati (representing the Hindu Community), Arab (representing the Islamic Community), two types of Creole languages from Guinea Bissau and São Tomé e Principe, and, of course Portuguese. The exhibition room was given to the different communities and they were invited to present themselves in their own terms.

Again, nowadays, these are not new ideas. Museums must address these issues if they want to raise their social relevance and by doing so, attracting more people, money and supporters. Museums can be intelligent forums, promoting discussion of today’s communities’ problems.

Using, for instance, the temporary exhibition room to address the problems which common people are experiencing: new urban development plans, closing of factories, sustainable and renewable energies and recycling (education for sustainable development or ESD), etc, which is one of the European projects Loures Museums are now involved, named “Museo Mundial”, something like “world museum”.

The project "Museo Mundial: innovative approaches to mainstreaming ESD in museums" aims to facilitate museums and NGOs to integrate environmental and global issues into ongoing exhibitions in museums in the Czech Republic, Portugal and Germany.  This will be

achieved by elaborating a practical manual “ESD in Museums”. Project partners will develop a general and easy-to-copy concept, exemplary didactical accompanying material to three exhibits and build the capacities of museum guides on ESD. The project addresses different kinds of European museums dealing with ecological, environmental, historical or social issues as well as development and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Museums offer a wide range of exhibits e.g. on nature and culture abroad. NGOs work in the field development and environmental education and therefore have detailed background knowledge on today’s living conditions in developing countries and current environmental trends. Both sides can benefit from cooperating with each other.  Partners conjointly work out accompanying materials on current topics related to sustainable development for those exhibits, which are already shown in museums. These can be roll-ups, presentation boards, carpets with embedded information, educational games or installations. Thus, information and exhibit will be connected in a supplementing manner. The accompanying material discloses a new context to the exhibits (like for example placing a traditional water pitcher on a map showing current water resources and consumption.) Museum guides will be trained on ESD topics and methodology. A digital manual “ESD in museums” is drafted and adapted based on the experiences, gained from the project and distributed. Thus the approach can be multiplied by other museums and other institutions of adult education. Taken from the application form of the Lifelong Learning Programme, Grundtvig, Multilateral Projects. I would like to add that this project is still under commission analysis and it will be carried in both municipal museums, in Loures and at the Ceramics Museum of Sacavém.

This only requires a shift in the values defended by more traditional museums. I think we all have already internalised and recognised the need to change and embrace diversify. As Richard Sandell says there is “a resistance to change and an unwillingness to engage with issues of social inequality.”

Working with European funds, even for small pilot projects, can help to change the minds of those with a more sceptical attitude. It will demonstrate it is no big deal, it does not mean extra piles of work because it is only a different way to think about and face the same old problem: achieving social relevance through social responsibility.

I do strongly believe museums can help modern societies and communities through substantive conversations about planet sustainability and raising greener conscience, will we see museums producing energy and/or their own goods (such as vegetables, coffee or fruits) in the future?

I believe good museums can help achieve better communities. I think this is the goal of this new axis of problems: to centre the museums and their cultural actions in creating better communities. Museums should be centred in community improvement and empowerment.

And good museums are those open to organisations from all communities, also looking outward to engage with other organisations with a different agenda, these want to respond to the new challenges’ of today’s post-modern society. Why can’t museums start a partnership with these organisations?


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