Images of work
What kind of work is done at the Salo Art Museum? Museum curator or museum technician can be strange-sounding titles. What are they and what do other museum workers do in practice?
Director of the Art Museum / Head of museum services
The director of the Art Museum has on her shoulders the responsibility of the museum´s activities. She is responsible for there being sufficient resources and, when needed, she applies for external financing. The director holds the reins of financial and personnel administration, and she looks after their well-being. She organizes and develops activities, is responsible for the design of exhibition programs, and maintains contact with artist communities, as well as forging community relations. The museum director works closely with the curator. When exhibitions are being planned, the manager comes up with ideas, while the curator takes care of the practical execution. In the exhibition work, the director oversees contracts and lays out the core content for publicity. The advancement of research plans and the editing of publications can also sometimes be tasks of the director. The museum director is also responsible for the actions of the art acquisition team, as well as augmenting collections in cooperation with the curator. Taking care of the museum´s visibility and the outline for marketing are also areas of work for her. Keeping equipment, hardware and tools up to date is one of the things that the director needs to take care of. Since July 2014, the museum director started to act as head of combined museum services, including the museum of the cultural and production history of Salo.
The curator plans and prepares exhibitions, drafts temporary loan papers and contracts, writes newsletters and press releases , and ensures with the technical team that exhibitions are actually built and dismantled on time. The Art Museum curator maintains the websites. She markets Art Museum events and exhibitions so that people will find the place. In addition, the curator prepares for acquisitions and is responsible for the cataloging and placement of works in the collections. When artwork is needed for the city´s facilities, such as a painting for an office, the curator catalogs what works are where and organizes delivery of the artwork to that place. When an entire exhibition arrives in Salo from abroad, for example, the curator is the one who is primarily responsible for inspecting the work and writing condition reports, or ordering a conservator. In addition, she organizes ancillary events for the Museum, such as workshops, lectures and concerts. Doing the marketing means that the curator drafts newspaper advertisements and often graphic design, or she can forward the order to an external designer. The design of posters and invitation cards is done along the same lines: in-house or through external contracting. Printing work does not happen without the curator asking for a bid.
The museum technician manages the technical matters of the museum. When an exhibition is being built, the museum technician drills, frames, nails, hangs the work and sets up the lights. In the Salo Art Museum, the particular expertise of the museum technician includes the planning of exhibition lighting and tricky attachments of the works. The museum technician discusses with the artist or curator of the exhibition what kinds of solutions are possible in the construction of the exhibition and does them as agreed upon. For example, if a piece requires a base, the museum technician takes particle board and makes it. If work is suspended from the ceiling, the museum technician is raised up as high as seven meters in the personnel lift, and he develops even in the most challenging situations the correct method of attaching pieces of up to several hundred kilograms. The museum technician is responsible for equipment supply, audio-visual equipment, and supervision of the premises´ HVAC. The humidity levels and air-conditioning of the exhibition halls must be kept steady and at the right amount in order to keep the works of art well preserved. When city offices or institutions want art, the museum technician´s job is to transport and install them in place. The museum technician´s task is also to take care of materials, such as wooden boards, tape, bubble-wrap and screws, ensuring their adequacy and the storage of stock. When the staff runs into trouble with its computer systems, the museum technician is the first responder. At parties and special events, you can see him behind the camcorder documenting the performance.
The Salo Art Museum has two people under the same ´museum assistant´ title working in customer service. Assistant means assisting people, and this reflects the manifold nature of their work. In terms of customer service, they are the public face of the Salo Art Museum and the voice as well, since their main tasks include taking care of ticket sales and selling merchandise in the museum shop. Customers go to them to share their experience with the feelings that came up during the exhibition. When a guided tour is ordered from the museum, it is the museum assistant who prepares herself for the task and presents the exhibition to the group of clients, such as a school class. The job of taking reservations for space rentals and guided tours belongs to the museum assistant. The museum assistant is also the social media communicator, so she provides a virtual face for the Salo Art Museum on Facebook. Since there are two museum assistants, their work hours are spent focusing on different things. One of them focuses more on exhibitions, collections and technical assistance of events. The other has the responsibility and complete management of the museum shop, including product ordering. Both are involved in the construction and dismantling of exhibitions. In practice, this means transporting works, hanging and packaging, as well as modifying the space so that it is suitable for each exhibition. At the time of changing exhibitions, it is very common for the museum assistant to paint the walls or vacuum clean. The museum assistant is also responsible for cataloging the books in the reference library and distributing exhibition posters. Updating the press clippings and taking care of the general order of things are also the responsibilities of the museum assistant.
The office secretary manages the daily financial and personnel matters of the Salo Art Museum. The office secretary bills clients, deals with invoices in an electronic system, makes statistics that show visitors, and among other things helps artists to complete their travel expenses. The internal organization of the city requires from the office secretary a broad range of skills to use various types of software applications, such as when the museum receives interns or the annual sick days or other holiday arrangements of permanent workers must be properly presented to the city administration. Financial and operational reporting, as well as statistics of visitors, belongs to her. Neither invitations nor information on exhibitions go anywhere without the office secretary putting them into envelopes so that the postal service can deliver letters to customers, which happens only if the office secretary has kept the electronic client records correct and up to date. All types of papers and tickets and notes are in order when the office secretary is taking care of them. More precisely, her job is to manage the selection and preservation of the different documents that are pouring in from the various activities of the museum, and to assign them to the correct hardcopy or digital folder. The office secretary is responsible for the museum´s archives, which means maintaining exhibition and photo archives, in addition to her other duties. When exhibitions are ready and in place in the halls, the office secretary prepares a list of the exhibition works. When photos of an exhibition are needed, the office secretary who has received photographic training at the Salo Art Museum herself takes care of the photos.
Staff contact information
When is the work done? Although the Art Museum is open to the public during certain hours, the museum staff continues to work there even when the museum is closed. The office of the museum works during normal office hours (Mon-Thurs 8am-4pm and Fri from 8am to 2:45pm). The office staff thus works on Mondays when exhibitions are closed to the public.
On site during office hours are the museum director, the curator, the museum technician, and the office secretary. Museum assistants are on site when the Art Museum is open. The Art Museum´s office is located in the new section of the building . Access to the office is found through the main door.