Pop-up museums offer unique spaces for photography


Photo Courtesy of Amanda Di Benedetto

Senior Amanda Di Benedetto of Ocean draws at the Color Factory, a pop-up museum in New York City

Liam Umbs

To make the most of their social media feeds, users often “do it for the gram.” Pop-up museums promote Insta-fame, especially during warmer months.

In a colorful room filled with candy, sugar and sweets, one visitor jumps off a diving board at the end of a giant tub filled with sprinkles. There’s no better way to communicate the experience than a selfie in the sprinkle pool.

While museums usually forbid photography, this isn’t any old museum: this is the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Calif.

The Museum of Ice Cream is one of many pop-up museums that continue to gain a fan base. These temporary museums, which move from city to city, prompt visitors to interact with the exhibits and take pictures, which can then be shared online. The social media-friendly exhibits in a pop-up museum serve to create an immersive experience.

Pop-up museums create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, and ticket sales skyrocket with the announcement of another opening. These museums create a culture where visitors are invited to not just see the experience, but live it.

Though these pop-up museums may seem somewhat sugary and artificial, some have a deeper meaning behind them. At 29Rooms, a pop-up museum previously located in Los Angeles, organizations like the Women’s March and Planned Parenthood sponsor rooms that encourage guests to impact the community.

Sophomore Fran DiMiceli of Middletown attended the Museum of Illusions last October, a pop-up museum in New York City featuring exhibits filled with interactive optical illusions.

“It was super fun but extremely crowded. There was also this super annoying family who had little kids with no sense of manners. They would run in while I was taking a photo or the entire family would completely cut my group off while in line,” DiMiceli said.

Despite this, she still managed to capture plenty of photos. One of the features of the museum that DiMiceli liked were place markers on the floor that indicated where photographers should stand in order to get the best shot. Like many other museum-goers, DiMiceli proceeded to share some of the pictures she took there on Instagram.

Given the chance, DiMiceli said she would enjoy returning there.

“It was really cool to be there and I feel like doing it again would be just as cool. Going with different people would mean that you could do new cool and interesting poses in photos too,” DiMiceli said.