Last month I got the opportunity to visit the recognized Monterey Bay Aquarium on the West Coast of California. My family (husband, two kids, 7 and 10 and my niece, 17) spent an entire day learning and enjoying about the animal life in the sea. The variety of displays and activities were overwhelming, the size of the place and the amount of engaged employees could make any curator envious. But what really did the trick was the balustrade along the beachfront of the museum where you could overlook the ocean and watch the same animals you could get a close look at inside the museum, in wild life. Seals, sea otters and dolphins could easily be seen through the spy glasses on the balustrade. That makes me think about how much a museum is in dept to its place, especially if it knows how to use it as a part of its identity and brand. Art museums like Arken in Denmark and Guggenheim in Bilbao benefits enormously from their contrasting placement in traditional working-class areas, while a museum like Teknisk Museum in Helsingor in my opinion suffers from it odd placement in the suburb of an seaport, famous for it’s well-preserved renaissance houses. Although our preservation-worthy buildings in Bredgade can be a challenge, they offer a unique frame and a good story about the rise of modern medicine in Denmark. The question is of course how to use that story in our outreach activities without being hidebound by the past.

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