If you are familiar with Norse mythology, then you presumably know that Ragnarok is the name of the Norse apocalypse. In Denmark, however, there is a museum which uses the same word, but changes it into “RAGNAROCK.” Located in the city of Roskilde, the museum, whose full name is “RAGNAROCK – Museum for pop, rock and youth culture,” turns the name of the Norse apocalypse myth into a play on words, with the key word being “rock.”
A branch of the Roskilde Museum, RAGNAROCK was founded in 2016 to explore the modern social phenomenon of how rock and pop music have influenced youth culture in both Denmark and around the world. While rock music has been covered by other museums on multiple occasions, RAGNAROCK stands apart by primarily focusing on the cultural and social influence that it has had from the 1950s onward (as opposed to only covering music itself). Generally, museums focus on the artists themselves with their exhibits being a sort of shrine to the person or band, such as Prince’s Paisley Park in Minneapolis; however, RAGNAROCK not only examines certain artists, but also the culture legacy that he, she or they left behind in addition to their music. For example, RAGNAROCK interprets the social change that Beatle-mania, caused in the 1960s and its profound effect on the youth of that decade.
RAGNAROCK features 11 different permanent exhibitions ranging in subject matter from technology to Danish music history. A few examples of these include When the music saw the light! – covering concert lighting, Rotation – a look at the history of music playing technology, Fanboys and Fangirls! – examining the social influence The Beatles and other artists have had on young fans, and Can music change the world? – on the sociopolitical effects of musicians. Besides these, the other 7 permanent exhibitions include the following: Dance!, Musical currents!, The Red Thread!, Electrical intimacy!, Chasing the good sound!, Demoteket! and The World’s largest choir!. With such a wide variety of exhibitions, RAGNAROCK is sure to have something interesting for any music fan to enjoy!
Several of the exhibitions at RAGNAROCK have headphone stations for visitors to listen at; however, these stations are not only for listening to music, but also for learning more about the cultural aspects and history behind the music. Many of these sections are specifically for listening to narration, rather than music. Digital music is so easily accessible in modern times that you can listen to it anywhere, but stories about the music and its social influence are more difficult to find. Despite all the colorful exhibits to see, come prepared to spend some time simply listening and contemplating the connection between music and youth culture through a set of headphones.
If you were to debate whether RAGNAROCK was musical museum or a cultural museum, then the correct answer would be to say it is both.” By blending together songs, artists, youth culture and musical technology, RAGNAROCK presents itself as a hybrid museum focusing on the connection of these four subjects.
The museum’s architecture was designed by the Dutch firm MVRDV and the Danish firm COBE, but its permanent exhibition was created by White Noise Agency and HEAVY™. On the exterior, RAGNAROCK’s design includes a long outdoor path reminiscent of a red carpet and a shiny gold colored aluminum exterior. Inside, the museum’s design includes red walls giving it a warm look. This deign not only gives the museum its own unique style, but also sets its appearance apart from neighboring buildings as well.
After touring RAGNAROCK, admiring its architecture, experiencing all of its exhibits and listening to all of the different stories, visitors can stop by CAFÉ RAGNAROCK for a bite to eat. Besides foods such as paninis, salads, burgers and lasagna, CAFÉ RAGNAROCK also includes brunch on the weekends. If you are planning a Saturday or Sunday visit, then take advantage of the brunch offering and try it out!
RAGNAROCK’s museum shop has a variety of different musical merchandise available for sale. For example, visitors can browse among T-shirts, mugs and more featuring references to historic music culture, such as disco or punk, along with iconic album covers decorating them. Perhaps you can find something related to a specific musical movement that you were involved with and influenced your own life!
Ultimately, RAGNAROCK appeals to a variety of senses, which made it a perfect choice for Museeum. In addition, this is truly a museum you can experience by listening with your ears! With its flashy architecture, you are sure to notice RAGNAROCK from anywhere nearby in Roskilde, so step inside to learn more about how rock and pop music shaped youth culture in both Denmark and abroad for the last half-century!