Most Wednesdays here at DIS we have field studies, where we spend the day with various classes diving deeper into a certain topic or subject. Twice this semester, however, there are Wednesdays when I have no field studies—and today was one of them!
My plan for today had been to climb all the towers in Copenhagen…until I woke up this morning to low clouds and a 90% chance of rain for the rest of the day. So instead, I did some quick research on some museums in the city and set out, raincoat and camera in hand, for a day of solo museum-hopping!
Stop #1 | Designmuseum Danmark
I started my day at the Danish Design Museum, which I’d walked past a few weeks ago when heading to meet my friends at the Little Mermaid statue. It’s free for students, so that’s a win in my book! The museum walks through various aspects of Danish design, starting with a focus on the parallels between Danish and Japanese design. Danish design was heavily influenced by Japanese traditions, which the first few rooms of the exhibit discuss in greater detail. There’s currently two exhibits on fashion at the museum, so if you’re into haute couture, be sure to check that out! My knowledge of technical fashion goes about as far as “That is a pretty dress” or “I don’t understand how a body fits in that but ok” so I felt like other, more fashion-inclined, people might have gotten more out of that section than I did. There’s also an exhibit on Danish chairs, which is literally just a room with a lot of chairs in it. I’m not sure I expected anything different? Also, gift shop: 10/10.
Stop #2 | Nationalmuseet
Next, I walked 30 minutes in the pouring rain to the National Museum, which was huge and wonderful and full of other people trying to avoid the rain as well. My favorite section was—surprisingly—the section on prehistoric artifacts found in the area that is now Denmark. It walks through the Stone and Bronze ages, complete with skeletal remains of humans and animals from this region. Upstairs housed a large exhibit on Denmark from 1660-2000 and the importance of telling stories. I particularly loved the description of the exhibit: “Royal portraits and rifles, books and bras, jewels and jukeboxes are just a few of the things you can see in this exhibition. Exhibits from every corner and class of Denmark with one thing in common—they all tell a story. Stories of everyday life and special occasions, stories of the Danish state and nation, but most of all stories of different people’s lives—the people who over the centuries have lived, loved, worked and battled in the country we call Denmark. Some of them moving in the upper spheres—others from humbler homes. Some of them born within Denmark’s borders, others from Germany, Norway, Poland or Pakistan. Denmark has changed over the centuries, from being a powerful nation controlling the Baltic to being a small country finding its voice in an alliance with other nations. All these lives and belongings have been woven into a multitude of stories—stories of the state, society and people of Denmark from 1660 to 2000.” I’ve always loved museums, and interning with the Museum of Anthropology at Wake last semester only served to deepen the love and appreciation I have for museums and what they teach us. Stories are the singular most important teaching tool we have as a society, and it’s imperative that our museums tell the story of who we are and where we’ve come from.
Stop #3 | Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket
My final stop of the day was the Glyptoteket. Don’t be fooled by the “Carlsberg” name; the museum was founded by the Carlsberg family—same family as the beer—but the museum itself has nothing to do with it. It’s an art museum that focuses on Danish and French sculpture and paintings and was probably my favorite museum of the day. The building itself is stunning—don’t get me wrong, I love me some Scandinavian minimalism, but a return to the classical European style after seeing a whole bunch of white sharp lines was a nice change. Another 10/10 gift shop, as well (pictured below).