The museum, an initiative of the Happiness Research Institute, currently features a collection of objects that represent happiness to people across the world.
As the world grapples with the ongoing public health crisis, a pocket of joy has opened up in Copenhagen this past July. Known as The Happiness Museum, this is the world's first museum dedicated to the warm fuzzy feeling. It is the result of the Happiness Research Institute's mission to explore the reasons why some societies are happier than others. The think tank hopes to “inform decision-makers of the causes and effects of human happiness, make subjective well-being part of the public policy debate, and improve [the] overall quality of life for citizens across the world.” Take a peek into The Happiness Museum, one of the institute's initiatives.
The Happiness Institute CEO Meik Wiking said of the think tank, "I think people imagine that the Institute is like a magical place a room full of puppies or ice cream—but we are just eight people sitting in front of computers looking at data." The number of questions he received about his offices got the team at the institute thinking. If folks wanted a place to explore the feeling of happiness, why didn't they just open such a place up? "We thought, why don’t we create a place where people can experience happiness from different perspectives and give them an exhibition where they can become a little bit wiser around some of the questions we try to solve?" Wiking asked.
The Happiness Museum, a 2,585 square-foot museum, currently only has a maximum capacity of 50 visitors, but everyone is invited to discover happiness from a global perspective. This includes a historical perspective on how the concept of happiness has changed over the ages as well as the ways in which different regions and cultures define the term. At present, The Happiness Museum displays a vast collection of artifacts donated by people from around the globe. These objects represent what happiness means to each donor. "We might be Danish or Mexican or American or Chinese, but we are first and foremost people," Wiking said of the collection. "It’s the same things that drive happiness no matter where we’re from, and I hope that people will see that in the exhibition."
The museum also tries to analyze more deeply why Nordic countries tend to report some of the highest levels of happiness on earth. According to Wiking, his studies at the think tank have shown him that the answer may lie in resilience. He therefore had some hopeful words to share about the ongoing pandemic. "When we follow people over time, we can see that they are remarkable at overcoming the challenges that happen to them," the CEO said. "Of course, it's necessary to be optimistic in my profession, but I think we can overcome these times as well."