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How men use museums

International seminar and workshop with local and external partners with the purpose of developing an international, interdisciplinary research project on gender issues in museum communication and collections.

Info about event


Tuesday 18 December 2018,  at 10:00 - 16:15


Aarhus University, Studenterhusfonden, Fredrik Nielsens Vej 4, Room M2, 8000 Aarhus C

Organizer: Center for Museology, Research programme in Museology and the research programme Uses of the Past, Aarhus University, Denmark. Contact: Lise Skytte Jakobsen, kunlsj@cc.au.dk

Registration: The event is open to all and participation is free of charge. If you wish to join, please sign up here: https://events.au.dk/Howmenusemuseums.


Museums’ statistics internationally show that men are under-represented as visitors in public museums, except for war museums and technical museums. Men are however statistically over-represented in museum collections and networks as e.g. artists, directors, benefactors and as re-enactors in historical re-enactments and living museums. The starting point for our interest is not that these statistics are necessarily problematic, or to identify ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ within museum use. Rather we wish to identify and discuss potential qualitative differences in how different sexes use museums and how museums communicate (intentionally and un-intentionally) with the gender of the visitor.


10.00 – 10.30  Coffee


10.30 – 10.45  Lise Skytte Jakobsen, Associate Professor, Art History and Museology, Aarhus

University: Introduction


10.45 – 11.15  René Schrøder Christensen, Head of research and collections at the Danish Railway Museum, Odense: Case 1: Locomotives and boys of many ages – experiences and observations from the Danish Railway Museum


11.30 – 12.15  Theano Moussouri, Senior Lecturer in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology,

University College London: Towards gender-sensitive research methods in the study of men and masculinity in museums


Lunch (sandwich and salad for all seminar participants)      



13.15 – 13.45  Marianne Grymer Bargemann, Head of Learning and Interpretation at ARoS Aarhus

Kunstmuseum: Case 2: How men use ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum


14.00 – 14.30  Julie Rokkjær Birch, Museum Curator, Women’s Museum, Aarhus: Case 3: How and why we

address ‘men’ and ‘masculinity’ at The Women’s Museum


Coffee and cake 


15.00 – 15.45: Hans Dam Christensen, Professor, School of Information Studies, Copenhagen University

The upside-down museum: Gendered art museums, gendered museum communication, and gendered discourses on art



15.45 – 16.15: Concluding discussion


Abstracts and bios for speakers and discussants


By focusing on ‘how men use museums’ we want to draw attention to a hitherto neglected research area within museology and gender studies and add to existing research results (for example the antology Gender, Sexuality and Museums (Levin 2010), which focused on women and (homo-)sexuality). In order to map existing projects, knowledge and state of the art research the purpose of this seminar is to reach out to museum curators and university researchers to discuss the possibilities and challenges of researching ‘How men use museums’.

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Marianne Grymer Bargemann

How men use ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum


Marianne Grymer Bargemann is an Art Historian and since 2016 Head of Learning and Interpretation at ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum. From 2004-2015 Marianne was Head of The Children and Youth Department at Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen.

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Julie Rokkjær Birch

How and why we address ‘men’ and ‘masculinity at The Women’s Museum


Julie Rokkjær Birch holds an MA in Nordic Languages and Art History. She is Museum curator at the Women’s Museum (Kvindemuseet), Aarhus.

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Hans Dam Christensen

The upside down museum: Gendered art museums, gendered museum communication, and gendered discourses on art.


Hans Dam Christensen, Professor, Dept. of Information Studies, University of Copenhagen, DK. Senior researcher, the research and development project Vores Museum (Our Museum), and member of the research project Museum. A Culture of Copies, University of Oslo.

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René Schrøder Christensen,

Locomotives and boys of many ages – experiences and observation from the Danish Railway Museum.


René Schrøder Christensen, PhD, Head of research and collections at the Danish Railway Museum, Odense.

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Theano Moussouri 

Towards gender-sensitive research methods in the study of men and masculinity in museums


While audience research with visitors and non-visitors has examined the motivation and experiences of both men and women, the vast majority of this work has treated gender as a variable and men and women as homogenous groups rather than as theoretical categories. This is particularly true in the case of men and masculinity where there is a lack of critical theoretical and methodological work. This presentation will discuss some of the methods and research practices that help us attend to the world view of the participants and, hence, may be used to illuminate and make explicit the nuances of men’s perspectives and experiences of masculinity. It will also discuss the need for researchers to recognise the implicit gendering of our own work, if we are to research men as gendered beings, and the research practices that can help us aware of gender assumptions embedded in research.


Theano Moussouri is Senior Lecturer in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, where she coordinates the MA Museum Studies programme and is one of the Heritage Studies Co-Head. Theano has a background in Education and Museum Studies. She has worked in or with museums (including the Science Museum and the Smithsonian) in audience research, learning and interpretation for over 25 years. Her research focuses on the role of museums in people’s life and on museum practitioners’ professional development. She has co-authored Museum Learning: Theory and Research as Tools for Enhancing Practice together with Jill Hohenstein. She is currently on the Editorial Board of the Science Museum Group Journal, Museum & Society, and Curator: The Museums Journal.




Anne Brædder

Is a cultural historian. Her main area is memory studies (uses and users of the past); labor history and gender history. Before writing her PhD dissertation on WW2 reenactment and living history, she worked at different museums. She is currently the coordinator of the research program Uses of the Past at Aarhus University and part-time lecturer at Roskilde University mostly teaching within the area of uses of the past and gender studies.


Martin Brandt Djupdræt

M.A. in History and History of Religions. Head of research and presentation at the open-air museum Den Gamle By, Aarhus, Denmark since 2011. Curator and organizer of several exhibition at Den Gamle By, Moesgaard Museum and The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. Research and development interest in the museum as a social space and dissemination practice and use of the functions and possibilities of the museum institute. 


Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam

Associate Professor, Aarhus University, Department of Communication and Culture - Art History. Member and leader of the research group Sexuality Studies: sexualitystudies.au.dk. Together with Louise Fabian project leader of the research project ‘Gender Blender’, a collaboration with the Women’s Museum. Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam has written extensively on Avant-garde art and theory, especially surrealism, collage techniques, and surrealist legacies in contemporary art.