New Digimuseo.fi brings museums to the Finns’ homes

The Finnish Museums Association and The John Nurminen Foundation have today released an online service with the goal of gathering the digital contents and offering of all Finnish museums to one place. In the new Digimuseum, you can acquaint yourself with museum collections virtually – and for the first time also joined by a friend, or instructed by a guide. The ambitious objective of the creators is to grow the service into the most popular and well-loved website offering digital museum services.

Experiences and info banks

To start with, the digimuseo.fi service will open the doors of the three finalists in the “Museum of the Year 2020” competition: visitors can enter the Pharmacy Museum and Qwensel House, the Helinä Rautavaara Ethnographic Museum, and the Finnish Museum of Agriculture, Sarka. The fourth place to visit is the marine collections of the John Nurminen Foundation.

In addition to learning about the collections, the service will organise exhibitions and guided tours. You can even take part in these first-of-a-kind virtual museum tours together with friends and a guide dedicated to your group. The Digimuseo.fi pages feature the digital services that the museums have already made available: the Seinätön museo (wall-less museum) mobile guide; Kysy museolta (ask a museum); and Loki Stories. In the future, a museum shop will be added.

Museums at everyone’s fingertips – corona accelerates digital transformation

The Digimuseum concept has been bubbling under for a long time, but it took the coronavirus epidemic to hasten its launch.

“We all have a great need to turn to culture, and the service that we are about to open makes this possible in a way that is safe, and independent of time and place. We decided to make museum contents available to all Finns on a very fast schedule. We wanted everyone to have the same easy access to the cultural heritage of which we at the Foundation can enjoy in our daily work, as we work on our everyday tasks surrounded by our collections. The idea of the Digimuseo.fi service is to see, hear, and share cultural events and experiences. This was the key idea already when we, together with our partners, were building the marine treasure trove of stories that is the lokistories.fi online service. Already then we had recognised the need to move from glass cabinets to the Internet, and this time we managed to do this really quickly”, says Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt, Secretary General of the John Nurminen Foundation.

All through the 2000s, digitalisation of the museum industry has moved forward with various projects. The target has been to increase the access to and use of cultural heritage materials, and the diversification of museum finances. According to key figures from museum statistics, however, we are not much closer to the goal even though cultural heritage materials have been digitized in great volumes.

“Before the Digimuseo.fi service, we did not have a shared platform for publishing the museums’ digital materials, and no channel for using them as specified in the monetization model. Now, the museum industry will have at its disposal a service that can facilitate the uptake of digitalization, and provide museum visitors with never-before-seen experiences. We would not have been able to launch the service this fast without our deeply committed partners”, says Kimmo Levä, Secretary General of the Finnish Museums Association.

Towards a new operational model for shared museum services

In the museum field, the current digital offering is extensive but also sporadic. Digimuseo.fi will streamline the offering: in the future, consumers can find virtual museums and their services from one place. At the same time, the field of operations will become clearer also for the museums. For small museums in particular, the services offered by Digimuseum are priceless: with technical solutions all on one platform, the museums can focus on the contents.

“It is wonderful to see the Finnish Museums Association and the John Nurminen Foundation take on this challenge, now even more urgent than before, of inviting museums to develop their own digital services and contents on a new platform”, says Tiina Merisalo, Director General of the Finnish Heritage Agency. Many museums have already made their contents freely available, and with Digimuseo.fi, they can use a new and interesting channel to create and share also cultural heritage services and content behind a paywall.”

Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, and First Lady Jenni Haukio sent their greeting to the opening of the Digimuseo.fi platform. In their message, the President and the First Lady welcome the new service: ”The ambitious goal of the service now launched is to become an important stakeholder as the digital service platform for Finnish museums. In its technological solutions, Digimuseo.fi utilizes high-level Finnish knowhow.”

More information:

Kimmo Levä
Secretary General, Finnish Museums Association
+358 40 166 2816

Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt
Secretary General, John Nurminen Foundation
+358 (0)400 477 878

The Finnish Museums Association is the central organisation for museums. Its 211 member societies manage a total of 400 professional museum entities: cultural-historical museums, art museums, and science centres. The Finnish Museums Association safeguards the interests of the museums, represents the museums in questions pertaining to the field, and operates as the museums’ cooperation network.

John Nurminen Foundation – Baltic Sea protection and marine culture
Founded in 1992, the purpose of the John Nurminen Foundation is to save the Baltic Sea and its heritage to future generations. The Foundation has been awarded for its work as a communicator of information and producer of marine content. The goal of the Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects is to improve the condition of the Baltic Sea with tangible measures that will reduce the load and environmental risks directed towards the sea. The work is steered by measurable results and impact. www.johnnurmisensaatio.fi/en

Yhteinen Perintö Oy, the service development company of the Finnish Museums Association and the John Nurminen Foundation, is the force behind the Digimuseum

Digimuseo.fi is the first service by Yhteinen Perintö Oy, the company established in January by the Finnish Museums Association and the John Nurminen Foundation.  The purpose of the company is to create and identify such digital museum services that will improve the accessibility, discoverability, and use of cultural heritage materials.

Yhteinen Perintö Oy tests concepts and platform solutions that can be used to publish, distribute, and commercialize digital cultural heritage content. The company will focus on innovation and productions that will benefit the entire museum field, and create digital services for them.

Kimmo Levä, Secretary General of the Finnish Museums Association and Managing Director of FMA Creations OY, is the chairman of the board of Yhteinen Perintö Oy. Other board members include Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt, Secretary General of the John Nurminen Foundation; Juho Lipsanen, Member of the Board of the John Nurminen Foundation; Hanno Nevanlinna, Director of Culture at Futurice; Tom Selänniemi, Director at Nature Centre Haltia; and Jonna Tamminen, Director at the Oulu Museum and Science Centre Luuppi.