Seurasaari 74 2000

New Museums Act to take effect on 1 January 2020 – changes to managing cultural environment tasks

According to the reformed Museums Act (314/2019), regional museums replace the current system consisting of regional museums and regional art museums.

Regional museums have three tasks:

  1. the promotion of regional museum operations
  2. cultural environment work
  3. the regional museum task.

The cultural environment tasks of the museums have been specified in law for the first time. The reform will increase state funding for regional work. This allows for significant improvements to the cover of regional cultural environment services and the strengthening of the expertise in museums through hiring new experts.

The operating area and tasks of regional museums

Regional museums operate region-specifically with the exception of Lapland and Uusimaa, where the tasks of regional museums have been divided between several museums. Cultural environment services are now available in all regions. Museums operate in their regions as experts in the cultural environment, the built environment and archaeological cultural heritage, in particular. Regional museums operate close to their customers. In the future, their role as a cooperation party to municipalities in the first instance and partner to state regional administration and regional councils will be emphasised.

Most land-use planning matters concerned with the cultural environment are managed by local regional museums. Museums issue statements and participate in negotiations with the authorities. Their tasks also include the development and promotion of guidance services, the fostering of the cultural environment, cooperation in their field and the digital accessibility and recording of cultural environment data.

The Finnish Heritage Agency to continue as a national operator

The Finnish Heritage Agency shall continue and strengthen its role as an expert authority on the cultural environment on a national level. The agency continues to operate as the primary partner to state administration, its real property units and churches in all matters related to the cultural environment. The agency is responsible for tasks based on the Antiquities Act, the Act on the Protection of the Built Heritage and acts on churches, tasks related to state real property and sites as well as World Heritage Sites.

The reform of the Antiquities Act bestows new tasks on the agency: decisions concerning permits to disturb an ancient relic and the related protection areas were transferred from the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment to the Finnish Heritage Agency in the beginning of 2020.

Closer and improved cooperation

The reform offers an excellent opportunity to develop cooperation between the Finnish Heritage Agency and regional museums and foster cooperation and networks between other operators.

The Finnish Heritage Agency and regional museums will continue to work together flexibly, support each other and specify the details of their roles during the first year of the regional museum system.

Further information:

Head of Department Mikko Härö
tel. +358 (0)295 33 6241,

Senior Specialist Satu Kähkönen
tel. +358 (0)295 33 6114,

Read more about the tasks and areas of operation of regional museums