• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Umeå museum rewrites Swedish history

The Local · 21 Nov 2014, 03:54

Published: 21 Nov 2014 03:54 GMT+01:00

How is the Women’s History Museum different from other museums?

The museum is unique because of the fact that we focus on more or less one topic, or one theme. It’s about gender, it’s about power, it’s about history, and it’s about identity – and we aim to discuss how these things are related to each other, both in the present and in the past. We aim to discuss the future by using history as a tool of analysis.

This is the first museum of its kind in Sweden – and first of its kind in the world – there’s no other museum that can compare to this. There are several museums like Museu Frida Kahlo in Mexico for instance, that discuss one person and their life. Then you have museums like Kvindemuseet in Aarhus in Denmark, also a women’s museum. But their perspectives are different from ours, we’re unique in the sense that we have a mission. 

Maria Perstedt
Maria Perstedt has worked nonstop for a year in preparing the opening of the museum. Photo: Private

So is this museum just for women?

It’s a museum for everyone. It has nothing do with your sex or gender. We’re for everyone, regardless of how you identify or express your sex. It’s not about “men” or “women” – you can’t divide a world into these categories, and you shouldn’t.

We want to create a museum that is relevant to all people and that means taking an interest in people’s needs and dreams – and developing a close dialogue with our audience.

What if I don’t take an interest in history. Is this museum still for me?

Oh, yes! We want to discuss the ideas and notions about history: What is it? Who writes it? Who produces it? Traditional history is not our point of departure, we want to discuss other ways of looking at the past.

Men constructed history and have selected which stories to elevate as historical events. War and politics make societies and change them, as well as philosophers, inventors, industrialists… all men. Women are barely visible, barely there in traditional history. There are many stories and surprising facts that you can expect when visiting the museum.

The museum is going to be filled with many, many voices and different ways of looking at the world and discussing our different scenes. We want to break the norm of what a museum is usually like.

Story continues below…

What are you doing to mark the museum's launch this weekend?

You can expect an entirely, brand-new museum that’s never been visited before. That's a very unique thing in itself. But what makes the museum special is the two extremely different exhibitions we’ll have.

One is constructed inside a 300 square metre black box, filled with sound and light. It’s a theatrical and scenographic environment that is breathtaking – I can promise you’ve never seen anything like it. You enter barefoot or in socks, you’re stripped off to surrender to the environment of sound. You’ll hear ideas about men and women and what constitutes us. You’ll leave, absolutely filled up with an emotional experience of history. It truly is indescribable – there’s no comparison anywhere.

The other exhibition is about women and ageing. It’s about the notion of women as they enter retirement, that phase of life when they’re still active but aging. It’s about notions of norms and stereotypes surrounding elderly women and controlling them: stating what they should do, how they should do it, who to see, what to wear… and the silence that surrounds women when they age. How many women can talk about their experiences of being almost silenced as people don’t listen to them anymore? It’s a huge democratic problem, we can’t have people living in our society who feel they aren’t being heard or seen. 

Mimmi Nilsson

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fears new funding rules could hobble Swedish startups
Elin Olsson funded the development of her innovative smoke detector through crowdfunding. Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Crowdfunding is a risky business, but could Swedish plans to regulate it make it too hard for small companies to get investment?

Ikea recalls chocolate over nut allergy fears
Ikea has recalled several chocolate bars. Photo: Cornelius Poppe/NTB Scanpix/TT

Don't eat these bars if you are allergic to nuts or almonds.

Did this Swedish cop just make the arrest of the year?
Mikaela Kellner in action. Photo: Private

Imagine wrestling a criminal to the ground – while wearing a bikini.

Sweden's champion prawn peeler hauls in a big catch
Prawn peelers in action. Photo: Bengt Johansson

The Olympics are getting closer, but Sweden already has a new champion in an hotly contested "sport": prawn peeling.

Baby dies after midwife denies woman's request for c-section
Uppsala University Hospital. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

The midwife insisted on six attempts at vaginal birth before an emergency caesarean section was carried out.

Don't let them bite! Bedbugs proliferate in Swedish hotels
Swedish bedbug fighter Jonny Ström does his thing in 2014. Library photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The number of bedbugs in Swedish hotels has doubled in recent years, according to figures from pest control firm Anticimex.

Swedish state agencies 'outsource jobs to spies'
The Stockholm headquarters of the Swedish Security Service, Säpo. File photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Foreign countries are trying to infiltrate the Swedish state by winning government contracts, it has been claimed.

What's on in Sweden
The most stunning Swedish festival spots this week
The Norberg Festival at an old ore mine. Photo: Peo Bengtsson

How about a party on an island, in an old quarry or a former mining camp? That's all on offer in Sweden this week.

Swedish police backtrack on 'gunfight' claims
The scene of the shooting on June 22nd. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Police have retracted a claim that a suspected gunman had fired shots at a patrol unit before officers shot him dead.

Crayfish poachers send Swedes' blood boiling
Has anyone seen this crayfish? Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Oh no, not just before crayfish season!

Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,372
jobs available