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Museums to be shut, staff facing layoffs

Finland's National Board of Antiquities is to lay off dozens of employees following the conclusion of consultative talks on staff reductions. Savings will also be made by keeping eight museums closed, including Kotkaniemi Manor (pictured above).

Näkymä sisältä Kotkaniemeä. Päähuoneen nurkassa on veistos ja merimaisemaa esittävä öljyvärimaalaus, joka on kullatuissa kehyksissä.
Presidentti P.E. Svinhufvudin koti Kotkaniemi Luumäellä on yksi Museoviraston kohteista, joka pidetään suljettuna kustannusten karsimiseksi. Näkymä talon sisältä. Image: Tommi Pylkkö / Yle

The National Board of Antiquities – charged with looking after Finland’s national cultural and historical heritage – was forced to enter into consultative talks after the new government budget cut nearly three million euros from the Board’s funding in 2012.

As the cuts of 55 man-years need to be achieved this year, 40 or so employees will have to be let go during February.

According to the Board of Antiquities, the only other alternative to the lay-offs would have been continuous, long-term temporary dismissals, which would have seriously hindered museum operations.

The union of museum workers MAL says the cuts will have a catastrophic impact on the museum field, while the union’s executive manager Ulla Mättö notes that workers in the field have done their utmost over the past years to avoid cuts and lay-offs.

Museums closed

In an effort to cut costs, eight national museums under the jurisdiction of the Board of Antiquities will remain closed. These include the Kotkaniemi museum, the manors of Kuusisto and Pukkila, Yli-Laurosela Farmhouse Museum, and Paikkari Cottage, the birth place of Kalevala compiler Elias Lönnrot.

Alikartano and Urajärvi Manors will be temporarily closed due to repair works, while Anjala manor was closed earlier due to savings pressures.

The National Board of Antiquities also aims to hand over many of its valuable premises scattered across the country to other parties to care for. It is currently in negotiatiations with cities, municipalities, foundations and associations about their possibilities to take over real estate of great cultural and historical value.

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