Go Back

Tuija Peltomaa

Born October 9, 1965, Sotkamo

MA (Art History) 1996, University of Helsinki

Writer, columnist, lecturer
Hourly teacher at Aalto University 2013–
Antiques expert on Antiques TV programme 1997–2014
Auction house work at Hagelstam Auctions 1996–2013
Teacher at the School of Arts and Design 1993–2007
Museum guide 1992–6 (Ateneum Art Museum, Modern Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki Kunsthalle, etc.)

Photo: Tuija Peltomaa
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by Joe McVeigh

To study or to do, that is the question!

Tuija Peltomaa was unsure of where she wanted to go after her matriculation exam. In addition to headaches from choosing higher education, there was also the possibility of a termination of the discipline. Friends guessed that Peltomaa’s good language skills would lead her to a career in translation or diplomacy. The interest in history and the arts, however, was stronger.

‘I was in a bit of a situation at that point when I was applying to study over whether I would go to make art or whether I would go study it. I then went to have ago at the entrance exams for this or that, including the one for the University’s Theatre Academy. The entrance exams went rather well, but I still didn’t get in anywhere.’

During the first year after the entrance exams, Peltomaa became convinced that studying the arts would suit her better. The background to this was the part of her childhood where her family would debate various subjects around the dinner table. Her studies in Art History began at the University of Helsinki in the fall of 1986.

Making art was only put on the backburner for a short time because she started teaching in the final stages of her studies, and even these days Peltomaa teaches in the same school that she once applied to.

‘After graduation I had gone through the open doors and stepped into the air and I consciously made the terrific decision not to make any specific career plans. I have always gone in the direction that interested me, for what and where I want to try my talents.’

– New doors are made to be opened, and new challenges to be learned from. Photo at Raatteen Portti, in Suomussalmi.​
– New doors are made to be opened, and new challenges to be learned from. Photo at Raatteen Portti, in Suomussalmi.​

The first jobs were found in museums and in teaching work, but Peltomaa accidentally ended up in her longer-term job of working in the art trade. Her work in the Hagelstam Auctions auction house started with temporary jobs and ended up lasting 18 years.

‘I was dropping off my book manuscript, which was on the same topic as my Master’s thesis, ceramics and the artist Michael Schilkin, with my publisher. At the same moment I was asked whether I would cover for someone because they were short some people in the auction house. I asked, “When do I start?” And the answer was “Tomorrow at 9 a.m.” At that moment I thought to myself and said “Yeah, I guess everything will work out.”’

Tuija Peltomaa has become familiar to many Finns from the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s popular TV programme Antiikkia, antiikkia, which is based on Antiques Roadshow. Since 1997 the programme has brought the world of antiques closer to the general public. Peltomaa made pilot episodes for the programme in the summer of 1997, but left for a short time due to an urgency. She returned to the programme as an expert appraiser at the start of the 2000s.

Go Back