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Tuija Wahlroos

Born June 16, 1968, Kajaani

Master of Arts (art history) 1996, University of Helsinki

Museum Director 2005–, the Gallen-Kallela Museum
Acting Museum Director 2003–05, the Gallen-Kallela Museum
Exhibitions Manager 1998-2003, the Gallen-Kallela Museum
Acting Museum Director 1997–98, the Gallen-Kallela Museum
Exhibitions and project Manager 1995–97, the Gallen-Kallela Museum
Exhibitions secretary 1995, City of Karkkila
Employers during her student years, 1988–94: City of Helsinki, the Design Museum, the Gallen-Kallela Museum, the Retretti Art Centre, Galleria Kateriina, Kainuun Sanomat

Board member 2008–, the Kalevala Society
Board member 2008–,the Union of Academic Museum Employees in Finland

Photo: Markus Wahlroos
Written by Tuija Wahlroos (Riitta-Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Continual improvement in expertise

My first work experience at the Gallen-Kallela Museum was a summer job in 1991. Ever since then the museum and Akseli Gallen-Kallela have formed a core part of my professional identity – first alongside my studies, later as a full-time job. Being centred on the life’s work of a single person might sound limited. But the world of Gallen-Kallela is a rich environment and a fertile field to work in.

At the museum, I was attracted from the first by the variety of tasks, the supportive atmosphere, and the opportunity to do professional work even at an early stage. Expertise on Gallen-Kallela is the cornerstone of the museum, and I have been working on improving my expertise for close to 25 years. It's a never-ending task. Even after all these years you find out something new every day. The breadth of Gallen-Kallela’s interests is astonishing and also a joy: it guides the direction of the museum and enables interesting work and interesting partnerships. Of equal importance to the research-based development of our work is the sharing of information and experience with the public interested in Gallen-Kallela and responding to their wishes.

A further crucial function of the museum is to promote interest in Gallen-Kallela by sharing its expertise, collections, and materials. It was from this perspective that the 150th anniversary celebration of the birth of Gallen-Kallela, held in 2015 with numerous events all over Finland, was designed. The museum has also broken new ground in social media by giving Gallen-Kallela his own historical profile in Facebook. In this connection we have been able to present micro level expertise and demonstrate the significance of archive sources in the reconstruction of the past.

In opening our collections to an ever broader public through the likes of digitisation and online social media we have at the same time created a presence beyond the physical walls of the museum. This change in our working methods been very sudden and it has also required the learning new things, changes in attitudes and even some courage. For example, publishing a non-copyrighted picture collection would have been an unacceptable notion twenty years ago. However in our museum we believe that the best way to improve and advance is with open collections and open minds. Art and history materials professionally presented within their proper contexts will find their audience in the global flood of information.

Tuija Wahlroos giving a presentation in a Kalevala Society seminar 26 February 2015. Photo: Elina Lampela / Kalevala Society



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