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Mikko Myllykoski

Mikko Markus Myllykoski
Born December 25, 1963, Vammala

Bachelor of arts 1993, Master of Arts 1998 (general history), University of Helsinki
Doctoral student of art history 2012–, University of Helsinki

Experience Director 2002–, Heureka Science Centre
Head of design 1999–2002, senior designer 1994–99 and designer 1990–94, Heureka Science Centre
University of Helsinki history project research assistant 1990

President of the Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists (FASEJ) 2015–
President of the Società Dante Alighieri (comitato di Helsinki) 2008–12
President of the Finnish Inter Press Service 1994–2000

Research themes:
Travel-literature themed Master’s thesis on Mrs Alec Tweedie’s 1896 Finnish travelogue
Doctoral dissertation (in progress) on the exhibition Dialogue in the Dark as a radical social innovator

State Award for Public Information for the exhibition Nordic Explorers 1997 (together with Jouko Koskinen)

Recognition for Heureka Science Centre exhibitions:
Employer of the month award from the Ministry of Labour for recruiting 45 visually-impaired guides for the exhibition Dialogue in the Dark

Association of Finnish Aviation Journalists Follow Me award for the exhibition Flight! 2003

Association of Science and Technology Centers’ Roy L.Shafer Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience for the exhibition Heureka Goes Crazy 2014

Photo: Pinja Myllykoski
Written by
Mikko Myllykoski (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Humanities scholar at a science centre – science communication for all the senses

Creating the Jukola – Jakomäki – Brussels, Finland 75 Years exhibition in the Heureka Science Centre was an empowering project. Never before had history been presented in an interactive exhibition in Finland, and examples abroad were also few and far between. We knew no precedents, no restrictions. The founders of Heureka had fortunately defined the scope of the science centre with the Finnish term 'tiede' and the Swedish 'vetenskap' in mind, i.e., to cover all academic fields rather than merely science, the hard sciences.

3D printed humanities scholar with dry ice.

How does the world work? Who am I? How do I connect with the world and other people? These are the big questions that all of us deal with in our own way. At Heureka – and in science communication in general – we get to tackle these fundamental questions of humanity. We find answers, at least partial ones, but also ever more questions.

Being trained as a historian certainly qualifies you to design history-themed exhibitions, but it also provides you with a convenient angle of attack on other themes: all phenomena have their causes, and they need to be set in their proper context. Interactive exhibition media is – just like the work of a historian – storytelling, but here the protagonist is the participating public. The job of an exhibition designer is to script their actions.

“Heureka Goes Crazy,” the empathetic exhibition on mental health and its issues was boldly promoted. A coffee break at the conference of the Association of Science-Technology Centers ASTC, Albuquerque, NM 2013. Photo: Kathy Gustafson-Hilton.

When I was mulling over what would be feasible in respect to the plot and visual storytelling of my first multimedia display, Sari Koskinen, Heureka’s software designer, told me: “you just design and dream everything you want, I'll take care of the nuts and bolts.” The end result was a hilariously funny (at least according to its creators) interactive game about the player’s drinking habits and the role of alcohol in the history of Finland. However, it also showed me that I had happened upon a place with a “can do” spirit, where a multitalented team of professionals could take practically any theme and any material to brainstorm, design, shape, program, and craft a fascinating experience for the curious public: exhibitions, events, learning programmes, and planetarium shows. As Experience Director, my job is to create the conditions for these experts to work their magic and attempt to steer our path to the future.

The Science Centre is fairly unique in Finland, and most of our colleagues are far away. Happily, however, science communication is taking on new forms here too and the field is changing.

For several years, I have had the pleasure of lecturing on interactive exhibition media to University of Helsinki students of museology and cultural heritage, and especially to students of science communication, who also do practice projects on subjects agreed with Heureka.

The Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists, in which I have been active for some years, provides an unmatched network of journalists, editors of science publications, public information officers from universities and research institutions as well as we other science communication professionals.

The leaders of the Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists, Secretary General Ulla Järvi and President Mikko Myllykoski. Photo: Mikko Suominen.


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