Happiness and 2020 have not always seen eye to eye.
Whether it’s social and political upheaval, natural disasters or the small matter of a global pandemic, 2020 has been touted as a career year for awfulness.
Perhaps, then, we could all learn a little something from Denmark – perennially named among the happiest countries in the world.
The institute’s purpose is to oversee research into mental wellbeing and quality of life, and the museum is intended to be a microcosm of their findings.
“Our hope is guests will leave a little wiser, a little happier and a little more motivated to make the world a better place,” says Happiness Research Institute CEO Meik Wiking. “We think Denmark is an obvious home for a museum that focuses on how we create a better framework for good lives.”
It’s difficult to put happiness in a glass case, so the eight rooms use interactive exhibits to explore happiness from different perspectives. These range from the thoughtful to the playful; from medieval tomes on contentment, to using a mirror to find out which side of the Mona Lisa’s face is actually smiling.
The Politics of Happiness room digs into the sometimes spurious link between wealth and happiness – in part via a John F. Kennedy speech – while the Happiness around the World room is coated with Post-it notes bearing memories and musings written by visitors.
The exhibits often pose challenging ethical and emotional questions. If you could live in a Matrix-esque world of artificial pleasantness, would you do so? Can you and would you buy happiness? And would you actually return a lost wallet you found on the floor?
Other rooms include the science, history, and geography of happiness, which incorporate everything from emotionally intelligent AI to a world map ranking countries by their happiness.
The museum’s COVID-19 protocols include a strict one-way system, and a cap of 50 guests at any one time.
What does happiness mean to you? What do you do to remind yourself about the good in the world?
– With PA
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