Towards the Moon Exhibit
at Kulturhuset in Stockholm, Sweden

Text: Barry Davidoff
Photos: Michael Koivisto

Exhibition Program Space fans around the world will be thrilled with the new space exhibit in Stockholm this summer. Mot Menen (Towards the Moon) is a unique blend of cultural artifacts and hardware from the space race.

The exhibit is at Kulturhuset (Culture House) in the heart of downtown Stockholm. It opened on June 5 and will run until August 23, 1998.

Mot Menen was created by Gvran Willis and Staffan Bengtsson, the authors of a book of the same title that was published last year in Sweden. Thier company K-Mdrkt is considered as the European authority on culture of the 50's and 60's. They have an artful eye in placing the space race into the entire culture of the 60's. The exhibit shows the actual hardware along with the toys, models, and fashions of the dream for rapid progress in space-a future that never materialized.

The Cosmonautics Musuem in Moscow has lent several exhibits that have seldom appeared in the West. Hasselblad, Omega, collectors, and even the King of Sweden have all provided material for Mot Menen. The core of the exhibit is the Lost in Space collection of over 5000 toys and space artifacts assembled by a Swedish collector in the 50's and 60's. Gvran Willis' and Staffan Bengtsson's own extensive K-Mdrkt archives contributed other artifacts.

The greatest highlight of Mot Menen is Strelka, the first dog to return from space. After having several puppies after she returned, she died of natural causes. She was stuffed and placed on exhibit at the Cosmonautics Museum in Moscow, which lent her to Mot Menen. She is exhibitied along with her actual space suit and ejection capsule. The capsule is of particular interest since it is similiar to the ones used on Vostok. The actual dents from the final landing by parachute can still be seen.

The Cosmonautics Museum provided an EVA suit from Mir along with a current Sokol K (Falcon) pressure suit. The two space suits are displayed near a 12 foot model of Mir that is highly detailed. Although the colors are inaccurate the model demonstrates great craftsmanship.

A large 1/3 scale model of Vostok is also on display at Mot Menen. Visitors also will see a 1/10 scale model of Lunakhod. Both models are highly detailed.

The American side of the space race is well represented. The King of Sweden lent to Mot Menen a moon rock from the Apollo 17 mission. Hasselblad, being a Swedish company, co-operated to the utmost. Although most of the Hasselblads used on the moon were left on the lunar surface, the camera back from Apollo 11 was returned to Victor Hasselblad by Neil and Buzz. Hasselblad lent it to the exhibit along with one of the Apollo 11 film cartridges. Another artifact from Apollo 11 is a piece of its heat shield lent by NASA.

Aside from the space hardware, Mot Menen displays a wealth of space toys and other artifacts. They range from Barbarella, to Robbie the Robot, to Snoopy, to the 60's Swedish rock group, the Spotnicks. Quite impressively, the original Lost in Space collection included many multiples of items. Mot Menen therefore displays an entire box of ray guns in their original carton and a dozen identical moon rockets.

Several models also are on display at Mot Menen. In the Apollo Program showcase there is an original 1/144 Airfix Saturn V. In another showcase beneath several Life magazines featuring Project Mercury are three models from America's space effort; an EVA 1/32 Harrison Schmidt astronaut, a Real Space 1/144 Gemini Titan and a Revell 1/96 Apolo Capsule and Lunar Module. All the models are from the collection of Barry Davidoff.

Space age furniture and fashion are also exhibited. Futuristic chairs are seen next to fasion from Andres Courreges and other Parisian designers. Metallic fabric leisure wear was de riggeur.

Mot Menen's collection of original space toys, robots and vehicles is among the largest in the world. An original entire Friendship 7 pinball game that survived unscathed is available for inspection.

Mot Menen is a fantastic synthesis of fact, fantasy, toys and hardware. Unique artifacts from the United States and Russia are seen side by side. It is a must for visitors to Scandinavia this summer.


Mot Menen
Galleri 3
Stockholm, Sweden
June 5-August 23, 1998.

All the photos are provided by Michael Koivisto.

Click on the thumbnail for a larger photo with caption

Posted: 27 July 1998