On Wednesday, 21.6.17, we went to the Nobel Peace Center and toured the premises. Now, let me say that I knew absolutely nothing about the Nobel Peace Prize or its history. I just know that people get if for doing a lot of good in society, their country, or for the world. Clearly I am not an expert. Also, it bears mentioning that I don’t like museums. It’s not that museums are bad or anything, I just personally don’t enjoy them. Anyway, with that in mind I hereby present- Ian’s Nobel Peace Center Adventures!
First, we got a short guided tour (the best kind of guided tour) of the Center. We’re taken to a solid gold (not actual gold, mind you) hallway. Already it’s gaudy, which grabs my interest. We are told about the beginnings of the Nobel Prize, and then invited to look through a window and see an actual Nobel Prize from the 1920’s. They’ve got me hooked, line and sinker. I mean, come on, it’s an ACTUAL Nobel Prize.
We are then taken upstairs to a room that the guide says is her favorite- and I can understand why. It is a shrine of sorts, dedicated to each and every previous Nobel Prize winner. It is reminiscent of a garden, with long metal stalks with blue lights on the end, and walking paths to navigate between. There are longer pedestals with a screen on them showing a portrait of previous winners, occasionally flashing their name and the year they won. I immediately went looking for Barack Obama, my absolute favorite President. The guide had NO idea how invested I was in this tour now. After searching for a minute and seeing a lot of interesting figures on display, I found President Obama and snapped a picture.
We were then taken into a room with a giant book underneath a projector. The pages of the book, when turned, would cause different images to be displayed on the projector. You could hover your hand over certain elements on the physical page and it would open a dialogue box displaying more information, whether it be the women in Nobel’s life, or his work with TNT, or the days before his death. It felt like something out of Stargate, like using Goa’uld technology to fly a ship. I went back and read every piece of information and was enthralled learning about Nobel and his life. He never married, and despite creating something that could cause massive destruction, he realized he wanted peace and used his largesse to help promote that. The funny thing is that he saved many lives by creating TNT, simply because using black powder for excavation almost always killed someone in the process.
Nobel lost his younger brother in an explosion in one of his TNT production facilities. He had to live with that the rest of his life, and would hold that guilt forever. Finally, we went through a hallway with an interactive screen that had information about every previous winner.
After leaving the hallway and going back downstairs, I walked to the final, newest exhibit. It was all about the people of Syria and the struggles they have to deal with. Visitors are able to receive text messages that were sent from actual refugees, telling their families that they were alive and safe. It was heartbreaking. I saw a picture of a line of people, then turned the picture over to read the description. It was a line of over 1,000 people, waiting to get food since everything they had known and loved had been destroyed. I can’t imagine how they felt. I have no words…I just… I feel for them, and I wish it wasn’t so. It turns out that was the second most painful exhibit I saw in my time in Oslo, second only to the July 22nd Exhibit. All in all this was a trip that was very rewarding and interesting, and I would happily return to this exhibit next time I’m in Oslo. This is honestly the first time I’ve ever felt engaged at a museum, so great job Mr. Nobel and the people of Oslo!