Friday, October 5, 2007
Nobel Peace Museum in Oslo, Norway
While most people probably think of the Nobel Museum as being at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, there is another Nobel Museum in Oslo devoted to the 5th prize – the Nobel Peace Prize – for which winners are selected in Norway.
The museum uses a high-tech (and in some cases a normal-tech) combination of art, science, and technology to provide an inspired overview of the prize, its goals, some of the impacts that its winners have made, and a biography of the man who made it all possible with “The Famous Will.” Many of the stories are interesting, such as this sad vignette about Charlie Chaplin.
A temporary exhibit area near the entrance currently has a series of large screens with constantly changing vignettes that set a tone for the rest of the museum.
Upstairs, one room has an eerie exhibit consisting of a series of waist-high Plexiglas rods that glow bluish at their tips and display among them several dozen small screens with pictures of Nobel Peace Prize winners. When you approach a screen, it automatically brings up a short description of that person’s contribution to world peace.
A small, quiet room in one corner contains a large red (but otherwise blank) book on a stand. A sensor detects pages being turned, and a projector then projects on the blank pages the story of Alfred Nobel’s life. Like a touch screen, a circular cursor can be dragged to various items on each page, which then brings up additional details. It’s slick and works reasonably well. It’s a good example of an exhibit where technology can provide an additional level of interactivity, interest, and layered information; but if more than one person wants to use the exhibit at a time, it can be a frustrating experience for everyone.
Everything about this museum was focused on the mission, including the staff t-shirts, which say "Peace at Work" on the backs.
Another popular interactive exhibit consists of a wall with many screens and sliders that select vignettes and other information on Nobel Peace Prize winners. The screens overlap at times, and slowly cascading letters that form words sometimes seem more like gimmickry. But it’s hard not to be inspired by the stories of what prize winners have accomplished in their quest for making a difference in the world.
Posted by Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY at 4:40 AM