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The value of the sexes in a museum hierarchy: About representation of women, sexes and diversity in museums

Project period: 2021-2023
Finances: Norsk Kulturråd
Contact at Østfoldmuseene:
Bodil Andersson, senior consultant, bodil.andersson@ostfoldmuseene.no
Marianne Løken, research director, marianne.loken@ostfoldmuseene.no
Project website: https://kvinnemuseet.no/kjonnets-verdi-i-et-museumshierarki

About the project

What we collect, convey and communicate in museums should reflect our society. But who’s society are hidden in the many magazines and displays? We need urgent measurements of how museums can improve women’s visibility, not only in museum management, but also in existing collections and at the same time initiate a more active collecting policy.

In this project nine institutions collaborate around three work packages, that through different perspectives have the intension to strengthen the work considering sex and diversity in museum practices. The Women’s Museum Norway, Anno has the overall responsibility for the project.


The overall target is that the museum as an institution fulfills The UN's sustainability goal number 5 through practices that safeguard a gender-balanced representation in retrospective documentation, as well as in fundraising policy and research and dissemination work. The project aims to further develop methodologies that have transferred values across institutions. The purpose of dividing the museums' projects between three work packages is to facilitate better collaboration.

Project participants and work packages

· Bymuseet/Oslo museum
· Kilden kjønnsforskning.no
· Østfoldmuseene
· Nord-Troms museum
· Maihaugen/Lillehammer museum
· Kvinnemuseet/Anno
· Teknisk museum
· Stiklestad Nasjonale kultursenter
· Museene i Akershus

Work package 1, The gender-conscious museum: Courses and implementation, coordinated by the Women's Museum. Work package 2, Woman - a diverse category. Participation and further development, coordinated by the City Museum, Oslo Museum and Work Package 3, Research and dissemination, coordinated by the Østfold Museums.

Subproject: The Fencing Lady

The Østfold Museums participate in the project The Fencing Lady, which is based on the story of Johanne Sofie "Janken" Wiel-Hansen in her immediate family circle. The project is based on objects in the museum's collections, which clarifies these and shows the value of looking at the collections with a new perspective to open for the dissemination of a previously hidden history. The project will contribute to the museum's collections being explored with a skewed perspective - also beyond the project period.

Impacts and relevance

The project's theory and method development have great transfer value to other museums. The results of the project will also be relevant for museums working with women's history, but also for museums and other actors working with minorities and underrepresented social groups. Networks across institutions and internal professional groups are important forums for being able to develop good routines where gender and diversity perspectives are included in the museum's professional practices. The museum network for women's history will therefore facilitate that more than participating partners in the project can participate in discussions during the project.

Publication and dissemination from the project

The project will organize a conference, with a view to a Nordic catchment area. The research work must be published in article form in one or more scientific journals.

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