ABBA The Museum: Mamma Mia – I’m the dancing queen!
Text : Ulrika Kuoppa-Jones | Photos: ABBA The Museum
L et’s get this straight – ABBA The Museum is no ordinary museum. This is a place where you walk in and dance out, humming along to the songs by Anni-Frid (‘Frida’), Benny, Björn and Agnetha. By entering its premises, you become the fifth member of the world-famous quartet, via an unforgettable experience.
Picture yourself singing in the Polar Studio or virtually trying on ABBA’s legendary stage costumes in a photo session. By entering the museum, you’ll embark on an odyssey as a celebrated member of the ABBA quintet, putting you right in the spotlight. A personal QR code makes sure you’ll keep your treasured memories, as you scan it to have a look later.
“When you come to us, you’ll indulge in the wonderful world of ABBA. You will walk in their footsteps and really feel like you’re the fifth member, enjoying the music, the magic and the memories,” says museum director Caroline Fagerlind.
At the museum, you get to know the real story behind one of the world’s and music history’s most successful pop groups. Find out everything you ever wanted to know about Björn, Benny, Frida and Agnetha and their lives; get to know their childhoods, where they grew up, and find out how they finally met. You can have a look at replicas of places where the ABBA members lived and worked during their careers, featuring personal belongings and memorabilia – all to get you up close and personal with the members. Get to know the members even better by listening to their own stories and memories from their amazing careers, thanks to the museum’s audio guide.
“The greatest eureka moment when you visit ABBA The Museum is the realisation that this is so much more than an ordinary museum. Besides admiring a pair of Björn and Benny’s wacky plateau boots on display, or Frida and Agnetha’s famous animal print stage costumes, you can be a part of the story yourself. A visit is like ripping open a bag full of sweets, filled with music, dance, song and, above all, happiness and laughter. The whole scenography inside the museum makes this a place of magic,” says Fagerlind.
A very special phone call
The exhibition starts in Gamleby Folkpark in the 1960s after a short introductory film made by the famous Swedish film director Jonas Åkerlund. Gamleby Folkpark is a traditional amusement park, made for dancing and entertainment, in the idyllic coastal town of Västervik in the south of Sweden. At the time, ABBA was not the constellation it later became. You are then taken on a journey through time, starting with the first hit single, Ring Ring, from 1973 – the song that made the organisers invent a very popular item at the museum: the ABBA telephone. It stands there, bright red, on a table – and sometimes, it rings: “Everyone is aware of its existence during the museum visit. If the phone rings, the whole museum goes quiet. It is such a special moment! Then someone brave walks up and answers the telephone. It could be either Björn, Benny, Agnetha or Frida at the other end. They call from time to time to surprise the guests,” says museum director Caroline Fagerlind.
So, who called most recently? “It was Frida. The visitors who answered thought it was a pre-recorded call and were a bit reserved at first. But when they realised that it was in fact Frida calling them in real time, they were utterly astounded!” laughs Fagerlind.
The full, magical experience
At the museum, you can also have a look at what ABBA’s music manager, Stikkan Anderson’s office was like back in the day, as well as the famous Polar Studio, available at the museum as a replica filled with original features. You can even have a go at mixing original music yourself.
Both of the Mamma Mia films and Mamma Mia! The Party experience, where you are immersed in the musical atmosphere while eating Greek food and dancing the night away, have enticed a whole new generation to listen to ABBA’s music. At ABBA The Museum, you can also experience some of that sunny and carefree Greek magic, when you explore the behind the scenes of both films in the temporary exhibition MAMMA MIA! Behind The Movie Magic.
New for this year is a virtual reality helicopter ride out to Viggsö in the Stockholm archipelago, the legendary place where ABBA songs like Fernando and Dancing Queen were created by Björn and Benny in a little song-writing cottage. As you board the helicopter on Arrival The Experience, you’ll have breathtaking views over Stockholm, the sea and the many islands.
Time flies when you’re having this much fun. Walk in – dance out!
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