Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Museum Dedicated to Ideas

The Nobel Museum certainly isn’t the largest of the many museums in Stockholm, but per square-inch, it packs the biggest punch with multi-media displays honoring and celebrating more than a century of human achievement.

A part of the space is dedicated to Alfred Nobel, who founded the Nobel Prize in his last will. Nobel was an inventor and businessman most known for the invention of dynamite. He held more than 300 other patents, and had 19th Century manufacturing empire throughout the world. The collection contains his books, furnishings, his inventions, original documents pertaining to the creation of the Nobel Prize and his vast business holdings.

At the time of my visit in early September, there was an exhibit on freedom of expression and censorship throughout the world, including the partial censorship by Chinese authorities of speech given by Marcus Storch, former president and chief executive of the Nobel Foundation Board of Directors; and the story of Carl von Ossietzky, a newspaper editor and pacifist who was convicted of high treason and espionage in 1931 for publishing a campaign against the spread of Nazism. The exhibit also questioned whether hate speech should be the subject of censorship. As an example it discusses a law in Norway that makes a criminal offense to make hateful expressions.

There are many artifacts, including the typewriter used by Russian-American poet Joseph Brodsky and the Nassan Passport, created by Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat, Fridtjof Nansen, for Russian refugees after World War I (pictured left). There are films of every Nobel winner from 1901, many telling their stories in their own words.

If you look above, a portrait and prize citation of each of the more than 800 Nobel Laureates pass by, along a cableway in the ceiling. There’s also a children’s exhibit called the “Bubble Chamber.”

The Nobel Museum, Börshuset, Stortorget. Gamla Stan, Stockholm.

No comments:

Post a Comment