Anyone can (attempt to) sing Dancing Queen in a karaoke bar. But what about singing Dancing Queen along with a holographic rendering of ABBA and then fielding a real live phone call from one of the original band members? That’s possible only if you are exceedingly wealthy, eccentric and well-connected — or if you visit The ABBA Museum. It’s part of a new complex in Stockholm that celebrates Sweden’s second most famous export after Ikea furniture: The Swedish Music Hall of Fame.
The ABBA Museum has enough shimmering boots, outdated costumes and catchy tunes to make you yell Mamma mia! Vintage posters, original instruments and music awards won by the band are among the items you’d expect to see at a place called “The ABBA Museum.” The curators also went through great length creating displays that we can’t imagine anyone but the most ardent, and now grey-haired, fans of the band would care about. Like a reproduction of the island cottage where ABBA wrote many of their songs. Or a replica of the changing rooms at Edmonton Ice Hockey Arena where ABBA performed their last concert.
But what’s cool about The ABBA Museum is not any of that. It’s the creativity, humor and high-tech savvy on offer. Among our favorite exhibits:
• Ring Ring. There’s a telephone in a public area of the museum that only ABBA band members have the number to. And, yes, they do call to randomly talk to whoever happens to pick up.
• Benny’ Piano. A piano in the museum is virtually connected to one that ABBA pianist Benny Andersson has in his studio. (Is there anything the internet can’t do?) When Benny plays his studio piano the one in the museum will play too!
• The Dance Floor. How many museums have a disco running during all open hours?
• Virtual ABBA Band. Holographic ABBA members dance, sing and strum next to a very real microphone where you can join in. (Pic above.)
The ABBA Museum anchors the new Swedish Music Hall of Fame, which is scenically located on Stockholm’s Djurgården Island. The Hall will also have exhibits on the likes of Monica Zetterlund, Zarah Leander, Hasse & Tage, Cornelis Vreeswijk, Yngwie Malmsten, First Aid Kit, Carola and Povel Ramel — not exactly household names outside of Sweden. That said, the SMuHof† was just getting going at the time of writing so we’ll reserve judgment.
As for The ABBA Museum, it’s so well done that fans of museums in general — if not ABBA in particular — will be happily humming Lay Your Love All Over Me by the end of their stay.
† Nobody actually calls it the “Smuhof,” but we’re hoping they’ll start.
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