On the influence of museum collections and the energy in objectsAccording to the second rule of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums, “museums that maintain collections hold them in trust for the benefit of society and its development”. The societal positioning of museums inspires discussion, like Eero Ehanti aptly pointed out in the previous blog post. Museums constantly need to justify activities that do not yield any short-term benefits. Do museum collections and collections management sound out of date in today’s electronic world with its quick updates? Does collections management have an influence, and do collections promote the benefit of society?
When looking at museum operations in the long term, museum collections are the core of the operations that will stand the test of time. We have the understanding that museums are public institutions where all demographic groups have the opportunity to gather and exchange ideas in a calm and safe environment.
One of the points of reference in these havens is the museum collection, its original, three-dimensional objects and, most of all, the energy conveyed by them. By the energy in objects, it can be understood that each original museum object has characteristics exceeding its information value, consisting of its originality, external form and history of existence and eventually adding up to more than the sum of its parts. This is the underlying reason behind the influence of museums.
In a Great Museum, as defined by museologist Kenneth Hudson, it has been considered important to preserve a part of society by means of the expertise of museums. The objects in the collections have been preserved for hundreds of years thanks to the museum’s collections management, and the museum value of the objects has been relayed from generation to generation in an unbroken chain. Museum collections are historical proof of the influence of museums. The objects in the collections and their heritological value are part of the capital that only museums and other cultural memory organisations possess. This potential should not be wasted in an era where the influence of one’s own activities matters.
MA, UAS Master, museology postgraduate
UAS Master, conservation lecturer
Collections Manager, Gallen-Kallela MuseumStudents of paper and interior conservation at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences