The bus came to a stop, and before the doors opened, my friends and I could already hear “Super Trouper” playing in the distance. We followed the music, and with every step, the sound grew louder, and our excitement grew stronger. After a brief walk consisting of short dancing and singing breaks, we were there: ABBA the Museum. By this time, the song had changed to “Voulez-Vous,” and I felt as if I turned my head with each “A-ha” to discover something new from the glittering sign spelling out the name of the Museum to cardboard cutouts of the band members. Guiding our path to the museum was a red carpet, which we strutted on after taking pictures with (cardboard) Frida, Agnetha, Björn, and Benny. At the end of the carpet, we bought our tickets and went on to explore the glitz and glamour of the Swedish supergroup ABBA.
The Museum was full of ABBA memorabilia: stage outfits, instruments, records, gifts and letters from fans, personal photographs, and so much more. There were also exact replicas of the places ABBA used to live and work, as well as replicas of the band members themselves, which looked far too realistic at first glance. Each item or reinvention in the exhibitions carried a snippet of ABBA’s story, and with the combination of ABBA’s songs always playing, we felt like we were living the true ABBA experience.
There was so much to look at but also so much to do, and we did it all. Taking turns, my friends and I each painted the window shutters and doors from the set of the Mamma Mia Movie. Every paint job left the shutters the same shade of blue character Donna used to decorate her villa. The next thing to do was an ABBA quiz, which tested your knowledge about the group. My friend Rachel and I took the quiz, and as self-declared ABBA fans since childhood, we were confident in our ability to get a good score. To our embarrassment, the win slipped through our fingers, but we carried on with other activities.
There was a juke box where you could listen to any ABBA song using a pair of headphones; feeling grateful for the songful time I was having, I decided to listen to, “Thank You For The Music.” As the song commenced, I was ready to embark on the next adventure, which was truly the best thing I had done yet. My roommate Maureen and I chose the song “Dancing Queen” and strutted up on stage to join the 3D projections of the band members in song and dance. We were loosely coordinated compared to Frida and Agnetha, but with the end of our 1-minute concert, there was a round of applause from the other Museum attendees. In that moment, I truly did feel like the “dancing queen.”
We finished off our visit of the museum with a round of karaoke. Four of my friends and I squeezed into booth and chose to sing the song “Chiquitita,” which we all knew, except Maureen. In true ABBA fashion, though, Maureen sang proudly (regardless of not knowing the tune), and we all matched her energy. After several minutes of singing horribly and laughing over the lyrics, we left the booth to be greeted by a not-so-happy audience member saying, “Those curtains aren’t soundproof, you know,” but it’s ABBA; how could we NOT sing it loudly? Gimme gimme gimme a break.
Regardless of some karaoke critics, my friends and I had a blast at the museum, and the visit will be a memory I am reminded of every time I watch Mamma Mia! or listen to an ABBA song. It was not only great to experience the story of my favorite band, but it was great to do so with good friends. Needless to say, the Museum of ABBA was a must-visit during our study abroad in Sweden, and we were certainly having the time of our lives.