Tag Archives: Museum

On Tuesday I make my Almedalen debut

Every year politicians Week held in Almedalen on Gotland. This year I will be participating in a debate on volunteers in museums. Read more about it here (in English) or on Riksutställningar website (in Swedish).


Magnus Reuterdahl


Need Swedish museums more volunteers?

The annual political event Almedalen, on the island Gotland in Sweden, is just around the corner.

During the first week of July politicians and lobby-organisations meet on common ground to discuss current events – and this year I’m in 🙂

Cultural Heritage is of course part if that and so are questions regarding museums, archives and libraries. A few months ago I was elected to the board of DIK – the creative union; that includes communicators, archaeologists, museum employees, antiquarians, librarians, speech pathologist etc.

One of the debates this year concerns volunteers in cultural institutions. In one corner are Annika Olsson, Gender studies – Stockholm University, (me) Magnus Reuterdahl, DIK, and Karin Thorasdotter, Arenagruppen.

On this side we are concerned when it comes to volunteers. There is a risk that they are replace paid personal, and issues regarding insurances, liability and costs are not clear – among other things.

On the opposite side are Lars Amréus, Antiquarian of the Realm, Riksantikvarieämbetet (National heritage board), Nicklas Lundblad, IT debater, social policy adviser, Google and Lars-Anders Johansson, responsible for cultural issues, Timbro.

They are for more volunteers.

The debattle is organized by Riksutställningar (The Swedish Travelling Exhibitions) under the name; Need Swedish museums more volunteers? (Behöver svenska museer fler volontärer?)

The debate is held on July 2,10:00 – 11:30 at Riksutställningar.

Read more about it here (in Swedish).

Magnus Reuterdahl

A museum in need

I just got word that the museum in Elblag Poland has been flooded when water pipes bursted. Lots of thier litterture had been destroyed or lost and it seems that they are in need to replace this. If I understand correctly it foremost concerns litterature on the Viking age and especially regarding the early medieval Vikings’ emporium near Elblag in Poland called Truso. If you have scans of articles, reports etc they would need this – if you want or can help contact @Pogezana via Twitter.

Link in polish – though lots of pictures on the flooding.

Magnus Reuterdahl

On display – Inca gold (?)

Today I’ll visit the exhibition Inca gold – treasures in the vault, an exhibition by Världskulturmuseerna (the museums of world culture) on display in Stockholm September 10th 2011– February 12th 2012.

The exhibition is on archaeological finds from South America, for example from the Incas and earlier Peruvian cultures, and tells the tale on the search for El Dorado, the golden land, and the Spanish conquest of the Incas.

About 300 objects from 15 Peruvian museums are on display. The objects are from the Incas and the cultures preceding them, the oldest from ca 2000 BC and then reaching to the 1530s AD. Besides gold there are also textiles, ceramics and mummies on display.

Not all are pleased with the exhibit, one disgruntled visitor filed a complaint to the National Consumer Agency, according towww.dagensmedia.se he said :

…an exhibition called the Inca gold. The problem is that , as far as I could see, when visiting yesterday, is that only two objects made of gold where from the Incas (though he says he might have missed yet another). All other objects were from other Peruvian cultures…

We’ll see what I think when I’ve seen it. Now I have:

There wasn’t much Inca gold but lots of interesting objects and stories. For most parts I liked this exhibit, though South American prehistory isn’t my forte it seemed a good introduction – with nice finds, good texts and a well balanced exhibit, though a bit expensive (ca 16 €). On a whole its a good exhibit well worth a visit!

I like an exhibit when I feel I learned something – and that I did. On the minus side is a few question marks – I would have liked a culture explanation on the pre-Inca cultures earlier and a more consequent mentioning on that in the info texts. Regarding the info signs for the finds – they’re often confusing and difficult to find in regards to objects.

Especially two things concerned me – first an information sign concerning Hjalmar Stolpe, a Swedish archaeologist/ethnographic (1841-1905). A picture shows him with his associates and co-workers at a South American expedition – together with finds and three craniums. It is very possible that I’ve handled one or all of them at the Osteological research laboratory in Stockholm at one time or another – but no mention is made on that material being brought to Sweden or the question regarding handling human remains, brought to at the time and being kept in Sweden currently. As much focus are on the Spanish invasion and the consequeses of that less so are focused on the late 19th and early 20th century “collectors”/researchers such as Stolpe, though they are mentioned. The next are two mummies, if I understand correctly collected by Stolpe, that are on display – they work within the exhibit and don’t feel off – but I wish there would have been a larger focus on why they are there, on the thoughts on displaying mummies and perhaps also a discussion if they should be shown at all. I don’t say they shouldn’t be but it would have been interesting with a discussion concerning that instead of questions on gold and how we look on gold today.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Magnus Reuterdahl

A week at the museum

What do an archaeologist do when he isn’t excavating? We do quite a lot of things – some obvious some less so. We write reports on the field works, we analyze the finds we’ve made, we attend meetings, we write survey and excavation plans, we attend meetings etc.

This week I’ve mainly been indoors preparing for a work next week’s work just outside Västervik. There’s a lot that needs to be seen to before you begin digging into the cultural layers. In this case I hadn’t done the excavation plan myself – so first there was some reading up, to get to know the area, what’s, what preps had been done etc. e.g. what I need to do. The work is the first step in the Swedish archaeological process an archaeological investigation; this means a survey of the area and on occasion we also dig search shafts in order to find remnants hidden underground – as will do in this particular job.

First things first – living arrangements; I got a hold of livening quarters just by the site – two minutes to my work area, lunch at home etc… luxury 🙂

Next order of business getting hold of a rover (a RTK Instrument) – a kind of multi-GPS, a backhoe and make sure that all tools are in place such as shovels, hoes, helmets, pads, tracing paper, etc.

Finally there are the question of other things that might be hidden underground – cables, wires, tubes etc. All to make sure all you guys still have an internet connection, electricity and water.

Well now all is done, I hope, so next week is field week 🙂

Magnus Reuterdahl

Medieval Stockholm on display

The entrance to the Museum of Medieval Stockholm, in the background to the left is the royal castle and the Old town and to the right Sveriges Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament building).

For those of you that are not familiar with Stockholm, it’s the capitol of Sweden; the city was founded during the 12th or 13th century and became the capitol during the 15th century. Still there are lots of traces of the medieval town to been seen, in the Old City, in some of the churches and of course in museum exhibits and collections. The Museum of Medieval Stockholm is build around a part of the city wall that was found during excavations at Helgeandsholmen (The Island of the Holy Spirit) between 1978 and 1980 and opened in 1986.

The city wall, or what’s left of it

The museum has undergone renovations and been closed since 2007. This weekend the Museum of Medieval Stockholm reopened. I took a few pictures and rather than a long post I’ll let them do most of the talking. A few notes; the museum has gotten a facelift, a few modifications on the old exhibit and a few new installments. I feel it’s all for the better, it’s less crowded and bit more airy and concentrated. A new feature is a “science fair” where archaeologists and specialists such as osteologists talks (on small video screens) on their work, on methods and results or so I was told – there a bit noisy with all the visitors – so I’ll take a rain check on them but it seemed interesting enough for a re-visit, that and the fact that I know a couple of the people on those screens. A few things are still missing such as information signs and such – but I’m sure it’ll all work out just fine.

Life in a bubble?

Welcome to the abandoned land,

come on in child,

take my hand…

Now life in medival time time was hard but probably not quite as grim, though these bones tells a story of some that had a pretty hard life

these bones, belonged to someone that wasn’t all that well (the second from the front displays a femur (thigh bone)), thank God for modern day medicine and doctors.

This is a human spine which have ossified due to disease, possibly some kind of arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis

and for those unlucky enough it all ended here…

…at the gallows end

others lived out there life within the city

as working men or women

-Wanna buy some bread!

…others choose a different life, a new part of the exhibit is about cloisters, devoting their lives to the almighty and his works

here is the cloister garden

while yet others served the more worldly powers

Stockholm on display!

Stockholm as it looked to a medieval artist

Here a more modern approach on how the medieval town was layed out

If you’re in Stockholm looking for a good museum or to kill a few hours the Museum of Medieval Stockholm is a good choice.

I’ll close it all up with a few words from those who were Stockholmare then, and made this  rune stone

//Magnus Reuterdahl

Short update!

I’m back in Lulea and as I woke up this morning and walked to the bus stop I felt good about myself and I couldn’t really point out why. Then it came to me it was a clear blue skyand there was a few rays of sunlight. Sometimes that all it takes.

The meeting with the Italians from Tribaleglobale this Saturday went well and we had some interesting discussions, foremost about art and intention of the project. Accordingly we will keep in contact and see what we can do for each other. I got some material in English on the purpose etc. and will read through this and put some thoughts on paper eg. on this blog.

I’ll be back

Magnus Reuterdahl

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