Thursday, April 21, 2011

Geek night at the nerd museum

JenniferThe Nobel Museum in Stockholm must surely be, on normal days, one of the very most boring museums in the city. In general, I'm all for old-fashioned Museums—give me endless displays of obscure items accompanied by a page-sized placard of information, written in a far-too-small font, and I'm a happy camper. But at this museum, the relics from Nobel Prize winners are perhaps a little too obscure to be of immediate interest to all except the truly devoted. Take the display on Albert Schweitzer, for instance. It consisted of three children's books in Swedish, about Africa. The placard described Schweitzer's work briefly, mentioning that he had given several lectures in Sweden. At the very end, we learn the relevance of the books in the display case: these books were donated to the Museum by the some relatives of Schweitzer's friends in Sweden. See what I mean about tenuous connections to the artefacts?

But a couple weekends ago, it was Culture Night in Stockholm, which meant most places were free to get into, and open late, and having various activities. The Nobel Museum decided to do Space. Here's the text of their English ad:

Nobelmuseet (the Nobel Museum)
Weightless groove, live Stormtroopers
and planetary activities
Listen to weightless groove all evening at the
Nobel Museum with DJ-Chekov, mingle with
live Stormtroopers and, if you are childish, you
can take part in the planetary activities.

DJ-Chekov? Planetary activities? Live Stormtroopers?? Who could possibly resist that? (The Swedish text was even better, as it said "living Stormtroopers", and also specified that there would be 'Klingon vodka' in the cafe. They also showed a film, a 50s Swedish movie called "Space invasion in Lapland.")

But at night, with some suitably-colored lighting, and a couple walls of slowly pulsing LEDs, and a crowd of good-natured people out to have fun, and a couple of DJs playing space-themed music, the Nobel Museum can transform itself into a respectable-looking nightclub. Who knew!

We wandered around the displays — ran into the Stormtrooper — learned a little about various Nobel Prize winners — caught the tail end of the "Pictures from Space" slide show. We missed the movie, and unfortunately the 'Klingon vodka' was all gone by the time we snagged a seat in the cafe, and they had switched to 'Klingon gin', apparently in the belief that geeks will drink anything as long as its 'on theme' (yup, we had some, it was fairly nasty). But we had a lot of fun just hanging out, and making fun of the live entertainment, an American with a quite bad singing voice and what sounded like a Casio. Thankfully he finished, and the job was taken over by a couple of young guys who did a much better job of sticking to the space theme, and of playing music that at least one tableful of middle-aged women were happy to bop along to right up until the end. Hey, I closed the Nobel Museum... on purpose... and it was fun! How nerdy can you get?

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