“Real Museum Work” and Information Technology – Does not Compute!

Keywords: museums, social practices, change, information technology, computers, digitalisation


The Finnish museum field transformed in many ways in the latter half of the 20th century: administrative structures were reorganised, new professional titles emerged and museological and conservational education was developed. These changes and their effects have been addressed in research (see e.g. Pet- tersson & Kinanen 2010), but there is one practical change that has remained understudied: the computerisation of museums’ day-to-day work.

The empirical material for this paper consists of oral interviews with Finn- ish museum professionals, produced as part of a national museum history project in 2005–2011, and writings in the Finnish museological journal Mu- seopolitiikka. Based on the material, I analyse the empirical concept of “real museum work” as a social practice that is understood through certain material elements, competences and shared meanings, and ask how the introduction of information technology has affected it. How is “real museum work” under- stood in the interviews, and how do computers relate to it?

Dec 15, 2019
How to Cite
Hakamies, I. (2019). “Real Museum Work” and Information Technology – Does not Compute!. Ethnologia Fennica, 46, 36-60. https://doi.org/10.23991/ef.v46i0.74238