From Generalist to Specialist

The Professionalization of the Danish Museum Occupation 1958-2018

PhD defense by Susanne Krogh Jensen.


In 1958, the first Museum act for local and regional history museums was passed in Denmark establishing a subsidiary system and defining a set of criteria for what constituted professional museum work. Since then, Danish museums have developed from single-curator institutions to diverse professional workplaces with a number of cooperating specialists.

Based on empirical studies, this project has tracked the changing definition of professionalism from 1958 until 2018 by examining the development of the Danish museum legislation, the description of professional museum work and the related skills as well as the training and education offered to museum professionals. Moreover, it explores museum mediation as a specialized field within museum work and the museum mediator as an emerging specialist throughout the period.

Thus, the project offers an interpretation of the contemporary history of the Danish museum field and of professionalism in a significant part of the cultural sector in Denmark.

Assessment committee

  • Associate Professor Trine Schreiber, chair (University of Copenhagen)
  • Associate Professor Lise Skytte Jakobsen (Aarhus University)
  • Associate Professor Björn Magnusson Staaf (Lund University)

Moderator of the defence

  • Associate Professor Nanna Kann-Rasmussen (University of Copenhagen)

Copies of the thesis will be available for consultation at the following three places:

  • At the Information Desk of the Library of the Faculty of Humanities
  • In Reading Room East of the Royal Library (the Black Diamond)
  • At the Department of Communication, Karen Blixens Plads 8, 2300 Copenhagen S