Cultural Diversity and Integration at Museums : A Study of Pedagogical Programmes for Immigrants at National Museums in Finland and Sweden

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för ABM

Abstract: The aim with this study is to shed light on the relationship between ideals and practises at the National Museum of Finland (the NMF) and at the Swedish History Museum (the SHM). The focus is on the museums’ role in society regarding integration and cultural diversity. In order to fulfil this aim, I have studied the two museums’ pedagogical programmes for immigrants learning Finnish or Swedish. Through an ethnographic field study (including interviews and observations) and text analysis, I have studied ideals and practices connected to these programmes. My hypothesis is that intercultural dialogue opens up for museums to combine aims concerning cultural diversity with aims of supporting integration. My study shows that there is a problematic relationship between cultural diversity and integration within the ideals and practices at the two museums. At the SHM, the staff’s aims of supporting integration as a mutual process are contradictory to that they are toning down the importance of mutual learning to the programme. At the NMF, the approach to communication within ideals and practices and the shortage of dialogue within the programme makes it difficult to fulfil the aim of representing a diverse society. At both museums, intercultural dialogue is seen as something very positive when it occurs at the learning sessions. It is, however, rather seen as a bonus than as an aim within today’s versions of the pedagogical programmes. This master thesis is written within a two years master programme in Archive, Library and Museum Studies.

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