Archive for April, 2010

It will come as no surprise that I’ve visited a lot of city museums lately, both in the US and in Europe. Patterns are emerging. Today I want to discuss one in particular: the permanent city history exhibition. Almost every city museum has one, and they are remarkably similar. They are almost always chronological in nature, starting with prehistory and native communities, and winding up somewhere around 2000. The following topics are covered, more or less in the following order: (more…)


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In mid-March I spent a week in Berlin, at a conference for Fulbright fellows from all over Europe. In between sessions I did some exploring: the city museum, the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, the Jewish Museum, Checkpoint Charlie, and a strange, edutainment site called “The Story of Berlin.”

What that week showed me is that for Berlin history, there is only one game in town: the Wall. (more…)

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The Helsinki City Museum

While I am here I am working informally with the Helsinki City Museum, exchanging information and ideas. So far I have visited three of their ten sites, met with the senior staff, and toured two storage facilities. I will write much more about their work in coming days, but for now, a want to give a few first impressions.

I can’t help but start with the fact that the Helsinki City Museum is considerably larger than its Boston counterpart, in every way: (more…)

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Why Helsinki?

Everyone asks me this. On some level there are many cities in which I could conduct this research. But there are some interesting parallels to be made between Boston and Helsinki.

First, they are more or less the same age, which is rare when comparing North American and European cities. (more…)

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Where I’m Coming From

I have been working in the museum field in the US since 1996. Over the years my responsibilities have included collections management, curation, and museum administration. Before I embarked on this Fulbright adventure, I was running this museum in downtown Boston, Massachusetts:


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