Identity and the Controversial Experiences of Museum Researchers: The Case of the National Museums of Finland and the Baltic States


  • Jana Reidla University of Tartu


This paper highlights the internal contradictions of museum institutions when they are influenced by neoliberal market-driven policies and new museology from the viewpoint of the museum-working researcher. Museums increasingly interface with the public because they are now part of the leisure market. Recent transformations have affected the roles and responsibilities of museum researchers. Whereas marketing, communication and sales specialists have gained more prominence in museum decision-making, the researchers’ role has been marginalised. Semi-structured interviews at five national museums in Finland and the Baltic Statesgive voice to museum researchers and reveal their subjective reflections. The interviews revealed two discursive patterns: 1) caring for museum collections is more of a priority than conducting research, and 2) if academic results are prioritised, researchers are less involved in servicing the collections.The analysis showedhowperceived marginalisation has caused role conflict and ambiguity for researchers, and that current shifts reduce researchers’ motivation to contribute to research.


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