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The Pioneer

Pop up museums take over the Bay Area, Instagram aesthetics at a price

Kamille De Guzman,
Staff Writer

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Pop-Up Museums have taken over the social media sphere, more specifically for Instagram posts, profile photos and everyday updates. In February, the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), received a nomination from The Shorty Awards, an annual awards show that honors the best creators and producers on social media, for Best Instagram Presence.

While museums are commonly a place to view and reflect on the art, in this case, pop-up museums are made so the visitor is the center of attention in the midst of the artwork.

Pop-up museums, such as the Museum of Ice Cream and Color Factory in San Francisco drew mass crowds from all over the country and created social media trends. Usually, times and days are scheduled months in advance for a visit to these galleries. Since these museums are also open for a limited time, people rush to visit them before they go away permanently. These museums and art galleries, otherwise known as selfie factories, also influence the way people view museums and can change their overall perspective.

Maryellis Bunn founded the famous Museum of Ice Cream in 2016 at Manhattan. In an interview with Forbes, Bunn stated that she was inspired by her wildest fantasies as a kid. Instead of artifacts or historical paintings showed at a regular museum, a pool of sprinkles, popsicle covered walls and a candy playground fill the art gallery of San Francisco. The famous museum now has four locations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

“At the start of every week, I always see at least one of friends post about the Museum of Ice Cream or Color Factory and after a while, you do get tired of seeing the same background and people doing the same unoriginal poses that you’ve seen more than 50 times,” said Cal State East Bay student Jastine Bugayong. More than 334,000 people follow and tag their photos with the fun and friendly pink Museum of Ice Cream Instagram page on social media.

Tickets for these pop-up museums must be purchased in advance online and are around $38. People then wait in a virtual line to pick a time slot and finally purchase their tickets. Thousands then flock every month to take pictures, create memories and experience the museum.

But how are these pop-up museums comparable to actual museums that we’ve always known? Are they even museums? Museums such as the Smithsonian, the Museum of Natural History and the local de Young museum fits the definition of what a museum truly is. These museum tickets are sold cheap or even free for its guests. It also creates a different atmosphere where visitors can be educated on certain events in history with less focus on selfies. They create different perspectives in comparison to these so-called “selfie factories.”

These selfie-factories are made to be photogenic. The art installations within each exhibit are made for social media and pictures. These include colorful backdrops, interactive props and perfect lighting for photos. It is a definite boost for someone’s profile picture or their own Instagram appeal.

The real artwork from these museums are the actual participants. The person that smiles in front of the backdrops, the person that scheduled months in advance to visit and the person that pays upwards of $38 for a ticket is the main attraction of the museum.

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