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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

Working life orientation ante litteram

“A humanities scholar has no career – or at least no career plans,” was the motto of my generation of students, inspired by the Humboldtian educational ideal. But with the benefit of hindsight, my orientation into my career seems almost premeditated. I took advantage of intriguing offers of temporary jobs and gained practical experience in digging into archives, interview studies, and the importance of keeping schedules.

A summer job as a postman, which I had begun while still at school, was the perfect fit for a humanities student. I became familiar with the streets and courtyards of the Kruununhaka neighbourhood and earned money for hobbies, but most importantly the job left much of the summer day free to revise for exams and above all to read literature in the parks of Helsinki.

One summer I worked at the Student Union House as a gopher at the office of the Inter Press Service, a news agency focused on developing countries. The following autumn, I was hired to sell IPS’s articles to provincial newspapers, and I also participated in its organisational work. My horizons were broadened, not only in respect to global issues but also regarding the significance of provincial newspapers and the nature of sales work: listen to the customer, know your product, and only sell what you value.

A pleasure of the darkest time of the year: flying above the fields in Viikki. Photo: Pinja Myllykoski.

When I got the opportunity to write the history of an organisation, My fellow students and I jumped at the chance. Twice. The 50 year history of Limes ry, the association of mathematics students, covered some fascinating upheavals in the social and intellectual history of students. And writing the 40 year history of the Finnish Association of Sports for the Disabled provided me with a view of society from its margins. I also did some picture editing for the Otava publishing house and spent a year as a research assistant in a history project at the Student Union of the University of Helsinki. For the 350th anniversary of the University of Helsinki, I was entrusted with the design of the Student Union exhibition in Jugendsali, a City of Helsinki exhibition space near the University Main Building. This “Student life in Helsinki” exhibition must have been my passport to the Heureka Science Centre, where I was invited to join the team planning their Finland 75 years exhibition. Later the exhibition gained an additional title to describe the modernisation of Finland: Jukola – Jakomäki – Brussels.

This work swept me off my feet, so I almost dropped the Master’s thesis I was writing for two professors, when all I could think of was producing exhibitions for the general public. But in the end it was exhibition work that motivated me to finish my Master’s. I had scripted and designed a display on Through Finland in Carts, the delightful travelogue by Mrs Alec Tweedie on her 1896 journey to Finland. The display was duplicated for the summer exhibition of the Retretti Art Museum in Eastern Finland, and we also turned it into a documentary. I forsook Antiquity for travel literature. In changing majors I was supported by my most important teacher, Licentiate Rainer Knapas, whom I can never thank enough for advising me on my thesis even though he wasn’t my supervisor. That’s universitas, the community of learners.

Mikko Myllykoski at Heureka’s The Classics exhibition. Photo: Kirill Lorech.


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