The Durga Puja pop-up exhibition at the National Museum of Finland. Designing and hosting an exhibition as university educationmuseum collaboration

  • Anna Wessman University of Helsinki
  • Xenia Zeiler University of Helsinki
  • Suzie Thomas University of Helsinki
  • Pilvi Vainonen National Museum of Finland


In autumn 2018, eight Museum Studies students from the University of Helsinki had the opportunity to put theory into practice and to gain hands-on experience making a real exhibition. The ‘Museum Content Planning’ course was a collaborative project between the National Museum of Finland and the university in which the students, together with the museum staff, built a pop-up exhibition about the Indian festival Durga Puja in only five weeks. The exhibition showed in the National Museum for two weeks, and the students were involved in most stages of the exhibition’s development. They also blogged about their learning experience. In this case study, we present our reflections on both the benefits and challenges of collaboratively creating an exhibition, which is simultaneously an accredited learning experience for university students.

Author Biographies

Anna Wessman, University of Helsinki

Department of Cultures

Senior Researcher

Xenia Zeiler, University of Helsinki

Department of Cultures

Associate Professor

Suzie Thomas, University of Helsinki

Department of Cultures

Associate Professor

Pilvi Vainonen, National Museum of Finland

Department of Collections and Research