Welcome to The Happiness Museum, “a small museum about the big things in life.” Located in Copenhagen, Denmark, the eight-room museum is the new public arm of the Happiness Research Institute—a think-tank devoted to the theory and practice of happiness. Denmark is known for being one of the happiest countries in the world; however, the museum approaches themes of happiness, quality of life, and well-being from a global standpoint.
Visitors to the museum will find many interactive exhibits. Each room is devoted to a specific approach to studying happiness. The Politics of Happiness exhibit asks questions about the role of elections and GDP in determining national happiness. In The History of Happiness room, visitors can learn about philosophies of happiness from Aristotle to the Enlightenment. Perusing commercial advertisements promising happiness, one can reflect on the relationships between consumerism, capitalism, and happiness.
Certain museum exhibits involve visitors’ personal perceptions of happiness. Can you determine which half of the Mona Lisa‘s mouth smiles? What would you do if you found a wallet lying around? How do you define happiness? The Happiness Museum asks its visitors to engage on a personal level, and the many Post-it Notes left with happy memories are a testament to this successful mission. The leader of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking writes about the museum’s mission: “Our hope is guests will leave a little wiser, a little happier and a little more motivated to make the world a better place.”
Visitors to the museum will also leave with an enhanced understanding of “Nordic Happiness”—knowledge they can take back to their home country. Beyond the technicalities of taxes and the resulting social services, visitors will have a chance to embrace hygge, a Danish word describing a small, cozy feeling. The Happiness Museum hopes this feeling will bring visitors joy long after they have left the museum.
To learn more about their mission and exhibits, visit The Happiness Museum’s website.