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In times when many museums worldwide are forced to keep their doors shut, we invite you to engage with exhibitions, collections, and content of women’s museums virtually. Every day we will share with you the virtual content of one of our member museums worldwide.

Kvinnemuseet in Norway: A reading guide to feminist literature for museums and archives

Which scholars, texts and projects have inspired, challenged and helped you in your job as a museum worker? The Women’s Museum in Norway, together with members of the Museum Network for Women’s History in Norway, asked themselves this question and started to make a list. Continue reading

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During Spring and early Summer 2019 there has been  a lot of networking and publicity for women’s museums and our International Association of Women’s Museums going on in Norway.

We started off in April with an article about the Norwegian Women’s museum and our international network of women’s museums in the National magazine of the Soroptimists International Norway. Next thing to happen was an article about our Norwegian Women’s Museum and the IAWM collaboration in the SCAN magazine in May, meaning that all passengers on SAS flights on routes all over Northern Europe could read about us in the flight magazine! There was information about our IAWM web page as well. There will, as a following up, be a whole page advertisement about the Women’s Museum in Norway in the July issue of Scan Magazine, and this will also include the web address of IAWM.

Advertisement about the Women’s Museum in Norway in the July issue of Scan Magazine

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In Kongsvinger, home city of the Norwegian Women’s Museum, the International Women’s Day is celebrated over several days, with events ranging from feminist themed pub quizzes and self defense classes to talks and debates about body issues. The Women’s Museum shows an exhibition of artworks made by the inmates of the women’s prison in Kongsvinger.

On the 8th of March, people of all genders and walks of life gathers in the city square at 18.00 and marches with banners and flags through the city and up to the museum, led by Kongsvinger’s all-women’s percussion orchestra Drum Ladies. This year, we march under the banner “FIGHT AGAINST ALL OPPRESSION OF WOMEN”, as well as banners saying “Hands off our abortion laws!”, “Religious freedom for the women of the world”, “Education for women is victory for the world”, “Minority women: – See us, hear us, employ us!”, “Protect women refugees!”, “Stop rape as a weapon of war and conflict!”, “We are not birthing machines! No to express maternity wards!”, “Defend the three-part parental leave”, “Trans women are women!” and “Wage equality leads to gender equality”.

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Recently the Anno Museum in Norway has released an anthology with an interesting article written by Mona Holm from the Women’s Museum Norway. It contains an analysis of the gender equality in Norwegian museums. With her kind permission we publish the abstract of her article here in English:

Women and Men on Display, Anno 2017

Mona Holm

Since museums are institutions producing meaning, and since visitors tend to believe that what they see in an exhibition is a true picture of the world and the past, it is significant to question the assertions presented and who is included in the exhibition universes.

This paper discusses the representation of women and men in contemporary museum exhibitions in Hedmark County. The study uses the first research on gender balance in Norwegian museum displays, dating from 1992, as its starting point. Presuming that there must have been a considerable improvement in a country known as a pioneer of gender equality, three contemporary exhibitions are analysed. The research material is discussed with the support of museology and feminist theory.

The findings might be surprising. Apparently, there has been little improvement since 1992. The analyses show that men are still presented as the naturalized representatives of the human being, and women are given much less value and space in the exhibitions. Some possible causes for this slow development are then discussed; one being that the gender gap might be explained by a theory gap between University and Museum professionals.

The paradigm shift within the Academic fields of Women’s History (now: Women’s and Gender History) and Women’s Studies (now: Gender Studies) from its initial years – when the main concept was to make women’s life and work more visible, and into the exploration of various aspects of gender, has led to an increasingly advanced theorization. This has created a paradoxical situation: A better knowledge of new gender theory could facilitate more democratic and gender-balanced exhibitions, but at the same time the theories are difficult to access and can make feminist-oriented museum professionals feel outdated in their own approaches – and lead them to believe that it is hard to find support for their work in gender studies theories.

Anyway, it seems clear that there is a continuous need of making women visible in museum exhibitions – and that the original aim of creating visibility is a good starting point for any museum professional even today, independently of their level of knowledge of feminist and gender theory.

The book is written in Norwegian and can be found here.

 

 

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On 16th of June 2018 Norway was celebrating the 40th anniversary of the legalisation of abortion. The event took place in front of the Parliament, Oslo. Speaches were made by pioneers from the political struggle 40 years ago, and by women working for women’s rights to decide about their own bodies in today’s society – both inside Norway and internationally.

The Kvinnemuseet in Kongvinger, Norway was participating in the celebrations.

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foto Marit Bye Gjermshus

What’s happening on and around the International Women’s Day in Kongsvinger 2018?

The Norwegian Women’s Museum, Kvinnemuseet, is an active part in the IWD committee in our town, Kongsvinger. This is the third year we are inviting several other organizations to join the celebration to raise awareness on feminist issues in our community.

We have opted, not to have one Women’s Day, but several! There will be feminist activities happening in Kongsvinger from 1st to 11th of March. On the 1st of March, there will be a philosophical café, focusing on the #metoo-campaign, at the library, and there will also be a quiz, with questions from Women’s culture and history.

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Thank you to Mona Holm, from WM Norway for this article about our congress in Mexico City:

“The International Association of Women’s Museums recently held a congress in Mexico, where Holm from the Women’s Museum in Kongsvinger was reelected (as president) for four years. (…)  

–        There are now 80 women’s museums around the world, and around 30 of them are members of our organization, and this number continues to increase, says Holm.

–        Our vision is to contribute to a better development of our society, and to do so in within a museological perspective.”

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