ABBA museum in Stockholm opens
Did you grow up singing “Waterloo”? Saw “Mamma Mia!” and fell in love? Or just always wondered why everyone makes such a big deal about the Eurovision Song Contest?
Then congratulations -- you’ve been alive for at least 30 years.
Now there’s an ABBA museum that chronicles the most important band of your lifetime -- or at least the 1970s. (Sorry, but someone had to break the bad news to all those Zeppelin, Clash and Foghat fans.)
ABBA has become a little like Woodstock -- millions of people who never made out inside a roller rink now claim a special connection to the era of “Dancing Queen,” lutfisk bell bottoms and quadraphonic Swedish couples dysfunction played out in sunshiney, four-four grooves.
Anyway, back to that song contest that most of the world still doesn’t care about but that hard-core ABBA fans never fail to reference.
“Next year marks the 40th anniversary of ABBA’s break as winners in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1974 with the song ‘Waterloo,’” says Mattias Hansson, CEO of ABBA The Museum. “And time has shown that ABBA songs probably will live on forever.”
Laying their love on you
Opening May 7, Stockholm’s new ABBA museum allows fans to take an interactive journey through the musical career of Sweden’s most famous export (keep dreaming, IKEA).
Exhibits explore the complicated dynamic of the four already successful artists as they journey from breakthrough sensation to major world artists to their turbulent demise in 1983 and evolution into international heroes who laid the groundwork for Ace of Base.
Curated by the band’s former stylist, Ingmarie Halling, the exhibition has taken two years to put together. Input and help has come from band members themselves.
The ABBA museum will include numerous ABBA stage costumes, a 180-degree cinema and a studio where visitors can try their hand at mixing music.
An audio guide features each member of ABBA telling their own stories about their career.
“We are working with settings from the life of ABBA so (almost) everything has a place,” says Halling. “Obviously, I have a lot of items that won’t go in now, but I might use them for other small exhibits, like one about scriptwriting, where I can use all of Björn's old scripts and notes.”
Halling has curated ABBA exhibitions in the past, including ABBA World at Earl’s Court in London in 2010.
She says ABBA exhibits are popular with all ages, but especially those from the UK and Australia, as well as with families.
“They come as families because mum and dad were old ABBA fans from younger days, granny was a grownup at the time and loved the music and the children love “Mamma Mia!” the musical and the film,” says Halling.
The ABBA museum forms part of the new Swedish Music Hall of Fame, a 2,000-square-meter exhibition space that features a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions from 1920 to the present. Two other permanent collections, “The Story of Swedish Popular Music” and the Hall of Fame itself will open at the same time.
In addition to the exhibitions, the building will house Melody, a 50-room boutique hotel, and an American steakhouse-inspired restaurant.
ABBA The Museum and the Swedish Music Hall of Fame.
ABBA The Museum, Djurgårdsvägen 68, Stockholm; www.abbathemuseum.com