Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More than the American dream, these are human imperatives. Happiness is perhaps the most elusive of these age-old popular maxims. Across the world, we’re all obsessed with happiness. We chase after it, we despair without it, we wish it upon our dearest friends. And yet, we know relatively few things about it. One little museum in Copenhagen is trying to change that, though.
More Than A State Of Mind
What we think of as “happiness” is often just a state of mind, characterized by joyful emotions and sensations. Yet, happiness can mean a lot more than that. Hundreds of philosophers throughout the centuries have spent countless hours debating the meaning of happiness. Copenhagen’s newest museum, The Happiness Museum, wants to bring that debate to the people. Presenting a wealth of information on the subject, the museum confronts visitors with different definitions of happiness across the world.
The museum serves a valuable purpose, divulging real scientific information on the subject of happiness. This way, the staff help guests learn more about the questions studied by experts. It includes what makes humans happy, the best measures to achieve happiness, and so on.
The world is home to thousands of museums. But Copenhagen’s The Happiness Museum is the first in the world to hone in on the most joyful of emotions. Some may consider it an unusual focus. In all fairness, though, it’s perhaps more uncommon that, out of 55,000 museums worldwide, only one focuses on happiness. We have thousands of curated military museums, which might be a sign of how we’re getting things wrong.
Denmark is the most suitable location for such an undertaking, though. It’s the second happiest country on Earth, according to the United Nations’ 2019 World Happiness Report. It occupied that position for several years and previously held the top spot.
Greater Research Initiative
The Happiness Museum is only a relatively small part of a larger research initiative. Behind the museum, an organization called the Happiness Research Institute continues to investigate the most vexing factors of human happiness. The Institute has a scientific interest in happiness, wishing to leverage new information for the sake of humanity. Its CEO, Meik Wiking, explained to the press that the Museum was a response to popular demand. For years, people would request to tour their dull office space.
Wiking and his team understood the curiosity behind these requests, though. That same interest in improving the joy of the human condition is what drives their work at the Institute. And that’s why they decided to open The Happiness Museum, as a place for the public to find answers.