Visitors learn how different countries perceive happiness
In the year 2020, people became addicted to bad news. They couldn’t stop checking the narratives of the deadly pandemic, crisis, protests, conspiracy theories, and politics. The only thing that is missing is happiness. That fleeting, the delightful feeling that seems all too rare in 2020. But there’s one place where happiness can be found hanging on the walls of a museum.
The current second happiest country on earth, Denmark, is now the home to The Happiness Museum, built to bring smiles on everyone’s faces. Opened in the capital city, Copenhagen, it’s an institution dedicated to the idea of happiness and how it has been perceived and discussed over the centuries, CNN reported.
A shining ray of hope
The Happiness Museum is the brainchild of the Happiness Research Institute. They are an independent organization that explores why there’s a discrepancy in happiness between different societies.
Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, joked that people think of their offices as some magical place. Talking with CNN, he clarified that the organization’s office consisted of a few people simply analyzing data.
“The idea for The Happiness Museum came after multiple people requested to visit our office. If people really were curious about happiness, why not show it to them,” said Wiking.
Happiness amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
During a time when museums are getting hit hard by the effects of the pandemic, The Happiness Museum feels like a shining ray of hope. The doors were opened on 14th July 2020 while observing strict pandemic guidelines.
Spread in a small 240 sq.m, the museum allows 50 visitors at a time through a one-way path, following physical distancing and safety.
Instead of rainbows, puppies, or things that are soft, squishy, or shiny, visitors to the museum are met with exhibits and interactive experiences to show them how different countries perceive happiness, CNN reported. Visitor’s reactions to interactive experiences also help the institute further its research.
The installations include the historical growth of the notion of happiness. They also explain how different cultures across the globe perceive happiness. Furthermore, several artifacts that hang in the museum have been donated by people across the world. They include things that represent happiness to them.
The happy experiment
Staff members from the museum have also conducted a series of experiments with the visitors. They periodically place a cash-filled wallet on the museum floor. The outcome has always been the same. Moved by happiness, people always returned the wallet, along with the cash, to the reception. Wiking said that they conducted the same experiment for over a month.
“One thing that unites everyone is the human species. Happiness drives everyone, regardless of one’s nationality or race. And he hoped people would understand this,” said Wiking.