The Abba Museum is a relatively recent addition to the Museum district in Stockholm (it opened in May 2013) – so recent in fact that it could do with just a few more signposts. But follow in the tracks of the female-friendly groups as my daughter and I did on our visit in September and you are sure to find it.
Abba may not be high culture (our hotel receptionist of whom we enquired directions appeared a little disappointed that we weren’t opting for the Nordic Museum), but what the museum offers is a fun and pleasurable celebration of a band who were, and still are, a major, international, popular cultural, Swedish export [check out this link for a trip down musical memory lane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTzTtNd7KjA%5D
As a museum it’s highly experiential, from the piped Abba tracks in the cloakroom to the dance floor where you can perform as an additional member of the group. While the music pervades each exhibition room, there is a visual feast of glam costumes; much speculation on our part as to how the group members managed to fit into such figure-hugging outfits (especially Benny and Björn).
Amidst the commemoration of the band’s phenomenal music success, there are exhibits devoted to the behind-the-scenes drama of the group’s private lives – notably the marital breakdowns. Sentimental, yes, as is the feel of the museum overall. But Abba fans doubtless love it, and there is much to attract Eurovision followers given the focus on the band’s winning entry, ‘Waterloo’, in 1974. Equally, the final Abba room is devoted to the success of Mamma Mia! With plenty of young, teenage visitors in evidence (these constituted the most participatory group on the day we were there), it is interesting to see how the stage musical and film of Mamma Mia! have revitalised the popularity of Abba among generations far too young to have encountered the group and their music back in the seventies.
Speaking for myself, I can’t think of any other museum that has made me feel quite like a ‘dancing queen’.