The Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet in Stockholm came highly recommended, although it is a (quite expensive) subway ride out of the centre of the city. You’ll find it on the grounds of Stockholm University, which are also quite nice to have a wander around. We made the mistake of heading there on a Monday and not actually checking the opening hours. Turns out many museums in Scandinavia aren’t open on Mondays, so it is definitely advisable to check the hours before you go.
On attempt number two, it was quite interesting to explore yet another magnificent Stockholm building. Unfortunately, being the off-season, what was probably the best exhibit was closed for repairs/maintenance/whatever the museum terminology is. The exhibit in question is the famous one where you walk through a giant human body. I could see the top of his head above the door but alas! Other than that there was what could have been a quite interesting exhibit on Climate Change had it had more translations, and a tonne of stuffed animals. (As you can see I’m giving the exhibits my own super creative English names). The human evolution exhibit and giant whale skeletons were pretty good, and the highlight of the open exhibits was probably the animals-on-record covers one – a collection of old record covers that feature animals in the art. There was a fairly novel duke box too, very much in theme. I played myself Fleetwood Mac’s “The Albatross” as I perused the collection.
My favourite part was the following elephant skeleton, largely because of his accompanying hilarious story:
This poor elephant was shot in South Africa in 1844 by engineer and scientific explorer Johan August Wahlberg (not the funny bit) who gathered large collections for the museum on his own initiative (i.e. that justified his hunting). He financed these expeditions with elephant hunting, by selling ivory as well as financial support from the Museum and the Royal Academy. In 1856 Wahlberg was trampled to death by a wounded elephant. Serves him bloody right!
All in all I found it quite overrated, but if I’d paid extra (it was already fairly expensive at about $15 to get in) for the 3D Imax cinema, or the human body exhibit had been open I think my experience may have been quite different. Lesson learned – do the research, especially with expensive museums in the off season.