Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Best. Exhibition. Ever.

When I was at the Arme Museum in Stockholm, I came across a small room. It was pitch black with barely enough space for eight people to stand shoulder to shoulder. A single pane of glass stretched across it's length with dim yellow light emanating behind it. There, barely illuminated, were six or seven banners, ragged and torn, their colors faded with time. Nearby were two regimental drums, their heads punched in so they could drum no more. These artifacts were the relics of Narva; Russian trophies captured on the battlefield in what was Charles XII's greatest victory. And all the while, you could hear the steady droning of Russian Orthodox gregorian chant.

I've seen some awe-inspiring displays across the world, but never has an exhibit given me such pause as the Narva trophies. It was but a darkened room with the visitor directly opposite the artifacts and yet there was this mystical, sacred feeling. For all the exhibit's simplicity, the sense of history was overwhelming.
Just goes to show that sometimes you don't need flashy multimedia or hands-on displays to get the point across.

The museum was kind enough to give me the album name and I believe this is the song I heard:

1 comment:

  1. As an Orthodox Christian, I think labeling the chant as "Gregorian" is incorrect. That is a Western Christian chant which was never, ever used in Russia. Here's a good, short overview of the chant development in the Eastern Church: