Nordiska museet’s new exhibition focuses on the history and future of childhood

This article was first published at Royaldjurgarden.se 20210129

On 8th May 2020, a new exhibition for children called Tidsvalvet (‘Time Vault’) opened at Nordiska museet. Tidsvalvet is an imaginative and interactive space that tells the history of childhood in Sweden over the last 150 years. Children are able to go back in time and see how children used to live, dress, eat, play, work and go to school.

Tidsvalvet is aimed at children aged 8-12. It is a continuation of the museum’s popular Lekstugan (‘playhouse’), which is for younger children. You can travel back in time to 1880, 1940 and 1980 and reflect on the important events that took place. The stories are inspired by real life stories taken from Nordiska museet‘s archives. Visitors can step into a replica of a fully-furnished children’s bedroom from the 1980s and hear the story of Thea, Into and Grethe who grew up during World War II. Or they can visit the library and hear ghost stories from the museum’s archives adapted by Martin Widmark.

Give children the opportunity to share their memories

“We are proud to be able to offer such an ambitious and elaborate exhibition for 8-12 year olds. We want to arouse curiosity and raise awareness among children about how things used to be, but also show them that their own story can be remembered in the future”, says Elna Nord, Project Manager at Nordiska museet.
You start in the office of Nordiska museet’s founder, Artur Hazelius. This is where you meet Fabella, a contemporary collector who travels through time and collects children’s forgotten stories. She describes Nordiska museet as a house full of memories, which we must preserve for the future. Children then become collectors as they make their way through the exhibition. They can fill in the gaps in the children’s stories and reflect on how living conditions for children have changed over time. At the end of the visit, they can share their thoughts on what it’s like to be a child today. The memory machine then saves their contribution in the museum’s archive.

Tidsvalvet – one of the museum’s most beautiful rooms

The time vault is located in one of the museum’s most beautiful rooms, which is now open to the public. There are over 200 cultural artifacts from the museum’s collections on display. Tidsvalvet was put together by Nordiska museet and designed by Sara Wiklund. She was also the Production Designer for SVT’s Advent Calendar Selmas Saga and the TV series Ture Sventon.
“We chose to work with Sara as she is a master at creating mood and atmosphere in her productions”, says David Berner, who produced the exhibition.

The time vault gives a voice to the children of both the past and present (10.2)