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i normally do not enjoy museums. they are spaces where i often feel awkward and out of place. museums can be intimidating and unwelcoming with their crowds of visitors and don’t-touch-anything policies. when i travel, i almost never go to museums. i prefer to just ramble the streets, enter shops and cafes and do people-watching. if i am familiar with a place, however, things are different.

last year, i stayed in oslo for five months. with my friend one day, we went on our regular walk through the city and discovered what i could call one of the best museums i have ever been to: the oslo-school museum. we both were so impressed that we returned a month later with a camera. the museum tells the story of schools in oslo through recreating actual classrooms and school spaces from 1900, 1950 and 1970. you can sit behind desks, leaf through students’ note-books and teachers’ journals, play the dentist, or learn a thing or two about wood-working and patch-making. all the objects are real artifacts, not mock-ups, which lends an atmosphere of unadulterated realness. it is as if you’ve stepped into a classroom after the students have just left for recess or lunch. it is that moment that the museum so cleverly captures.

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