Case study : Finland

Aalto University, Design Museum Helsinki

Enable senior citizens and families living far from the museum to engage with culture and share how their personal artefacts and interpretations connect to Finnish culture. Support sharing of artefacts and interpretations in virtual and touring galleries to provoke understanding and contributions across family generations and geographical communities.

 

Annikki and Matti live together near the city of Kuoppio. After working as a kindergarten teacher and a bus driver, they are now both retired. Rather than moving to Helsinki, they have chosen to remain living in the countryside. The good wi-fi and other infrastructure and services in their local community allow them to live a more economic and sustainable life. A few times a year they travel to the capital to visit relatives and friends as well as partake of the great cultural programs available.

In the early winter their local paper has an interesting Call for Participation in a workshop with Design Museum Helsinki. The description includes photo samples of items in the museum’s collection that might also be found in a Finish household. Participants are asked to bring an artefact from their family history to share. The workshop organizers offer the possibility of acquiring information and more knowledge about items in personal collections.

They go to the workshop held in their local library and talk with the Museum’s experts as well as other participants about their grandparent’s Arabia chinaware. They find out the name of the artist who designed it as well as the dates and other peculiarities. They also meet another couple who happens to have an extra sugar bowl cover that they have been missing. In the workshop they share and document their family’s stories related to the use of the chinaware set. They are informed that a selection of narratives will be on display in an upcoming exhibition at the Design Museum Helsinki site.

In May, when graduation time nears, Annikki and Matti travel to Helsinki to visit their grandchildren and attend the exhibition. At the exhibition they see a station with a QR symbol advertising more opportunities for involvement with the Museum. After scanning the symbols participants are sent a cultural probe in the form of a documentation sheet with instructions of how to use their mobile phone to record the use of their treasured artefacts throughout the summer. Later in the early Autumn, the Museum will select a sample of objects for 3D scanning and further processing. These items will be featured in a nationwide virtual reality exhibition online.

The couple spends the rest of the summer and early autumn engaged in their seasonal chores such as picking and preserving berries, fruits, and mushrooms for the winter. They host family dinners documenting all the events in video and still images which they upload to the Museum’s application website.

In early December they travel once again to Helsinki to meet relatives and attend the museum exhibition where they see that their artefacts and stories have been included. They are very happy and share their entry with friends and family who are invited to comment and annotate the artefacts and stories as well. Before the New Year’s and already back in Kuoppio they visit their local library where they can access the exhibition using a VR station. They bring their friends and neighbors and eagerly invite them to participate.

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