Organizational structures and the museum’s educative function. Empty options at the Reykjavík Art Museum

  • AlmaDís Kristinsdóttir Reykjavík City Museum
  • Sigurjón Baldur Hafsteinsson University of Iceland


Museum education is a field in flux that faces continuous theoretical and practical challenges. We argue that formal museum organizational structures, the informal, and experiences of museum workers should be intertwined. We also argue that the influence of museum educators on shaping policies is relevant. Formal organizational structures in museums should be acknowledged and systematically embedded in the shaping and governance of sustainable museum education practices if museums are to succeed as learning institutions. We contend that museum organizational structures disempower the development of museum education as a profession, serving other purposes more rigorously. We interviewed twelve museum staff members for this paper. They all worked at the Reykjavík Art Museum’s (RAM) education department as full-time and/or part-time employees from 1991 to 2018. Multiple meetings with the participants occurred from June 2011 until June 2018, resulting in twenty semi-structured interviews.

Author Biographies

AlmaDís Kristinsdóttir, Reykjavík City Museum

Manager of Museum Learning


Sigurjón Baldur Hafsteinsson, University of Iceland

Professor and Chair of Department

Department of Folkloristics, Ethnology and Museum Studies