Go Back

Elina Anttila

Anna Elina Anttila (née. Lähteenmäki)
Born April 11, 1963, Helsinki

BA 1990 (Art History, General History), PhD 2001 (Art History), University of Helsinki

Director General of the National Museum of Finland 2014-
Director of museum services at the National Museum of Finland 2013–2014
National Museum of Finland’s reorganization project director for the National Board of Antiquities 2013
Acting director general of the National Museum of Finland 2012
Director of museum development and information management at the National Board of Antiquities 2011–2012
Head curator of picture collections at the National Board of Antiquities 2008–2011
Researcher at the National Museum of Finland’s Collections and research division 2001–2008
Researcher at the Cygnaeus Gallery 1991–2001

Photo: Kristiina Mannikko
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by Joe McVeigh

International on many levels

The National Museum as a large institution is a good platform for international networking. Elina Anttila thinks that it would be essential to bring more international exhibitions to Finland.

‘We are trying to bring international exhibitions here, and we have even closed some deals. I recall that when I was younger, we travelled abroad a lot and went to museums there. But it is not self-evident that everyone can afford to travel to Louvre or the British Museum.’

As the Director General, Anttila gets to represent her organization internationally quite often.

‘I participate in international affairs on behalf of the National Board of Antiquities, and on the other hand, I have a lot of networking to do in relation to the museum’s activities.’

Anttila stresses that international networks can be fruitful even at the level of individual researchers.

‘Back in the days when I started to research Russian porcelain, I studied just enough Russian to be able to call Russian museums and, with my limited skills, to agree on meeting the people who were responsible for porcelain and to get to know them.’

Before long, they were asked to come to Finland for a conference held in 2008 at the National Museum, gathering the world’s best experts on Russian porcelain.

‘Contacts like these are absolutely fantastic, especially in fields that require deep expertise. The contacts that you create can then be used for support, advice and new research ideas.’

The main thing when setting up a research project, whether international or not, is an open mind.

‘It is particularly important not to be holed up in your office but to move around a lot and to meet many kinds of people. It’s in meetings like this that new things are born.’

On a trip to Paris.​
On a trip to Paris.​


Go Back