Who Is Leading the Project? A Comparative Study of Exhibition Production Practices at National Museums in Finland and the Baltic States

Jana Reidla


This paper presents research into exhibition-production practices at five national museums of four Baltic Sea region countries. The focus is the changes wrought by the expansion of exhibition teams, and how researchers in the curatorial role perceive their position, especially in relation to designers and project leaders. The analysis of semi-structured interviews with museum professionals showed exhibition production at museums comprise two models: A) curator-driven, and B) manager-driven. In Model A, the curator’s knowledge of museum collections is dominant. The curator creates the concept, and subsequently leads the exhibition project. The curator is the decision maker. In Model B, the field of communication is dominant. Managers are in charge of the design concept and fulfilling the exhibition. Managers are the decision makers. Curators feel their credibility as experts suffers and their competencies are underexploited, as they no longer have either authorship or leadership responsibilities.


museums; curators; researchers; exhibitions; exhibition team

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v18i4.3456

Copyright (c) 2020 Jana Reidla

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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