Millennials are usually the butt of the joke. They’re “entitled, lazy, and expect everyone to do their work for them”; everyone loves to hate a millennial. But, as a proud millennial myself, I truly believe we’re changing the tides and influencing day-to-day commonalities, such as museums.
Our expert grasp of social media has somehow changed museums from school field-trip destinations to exclusive, immersive experiences.
I recently went to the Museum of Ice Cream with my partner and two close friends. We heard the success the museum had in their Los Angeles location, so we had to nab tickets for their San Francisco debut. Our group name was Spumoni Monkey Unicorn, and we made every cent count from our 38 dollar tickets. We dipped into the famous sprinkle pool, danced alongside life-size gummy bears, and (obviously) ate some delicious ice cream. In every room, we took a minimum of 12 photos each because we couldn’t risk the possibility of forgetting the memories made.
Taking photos, Boomerangs, videos, and Snapchats were highly recommended; they had various photo op stations as well as video kiosks where you could take numerous videos and then send them to your e-mail. There were also MOIC volunteers ready to pass out candies and sweets while snapping photos for groups.
The venture was far from the typical museum that encourages quietude and calmness for the sake of concentrating on art. There was a massive jukebox and surround sound speakers placed all over the museum, blasting Top 100 music throughout the night. MOIC volunteers encouraged us to dance; some even made us dance in exchange for some peppermint flavored Pop Rocks.
While the Museum of Ice Cream had their own version of an interactive museum, others were following suit.
I also had the opportunity of visiting the Color Factory over the summer; the Color Factory was an interactive museum focused on the subject of color. While both the MOIC and the Color Factory encouraged interaction and play in their museums, they each had their own distinct ways of pushing people to take photos and subsequently, share on their social media sites.
The Color Factory had various high-definition cameras placed around the Museum, where you could swipe your photo card and take how ever many photos as you wanted. Some of the cameras were placed in locations where you could get an epic picture that no selfie-stick could take.
The Color Factory also introduced a new aspect to museum visiting: wearing outfits that go along with the theme of the museum. Before, you wouldn’t care much about what outfit you would wear to your local art museum. At the Color Factory, people were choosing specific colors, patterns, and styles of clothing to make sure their pictures came out as awesome as possible.
These types of museums are popping up everywhere and for good reason: people, like millennials, want to pay for these experiences.
Happy Place launched tickets for their pop-up museum in Los Angeles on November 20th; tickets were sold out for two months in a matter of minutes. The MOIC had to extend their ticket dates 3 months because tickets for their original dates sold out in 1 hour. Although these museums cost almost 5 times more than the average museum, people are ready to cough up cash for these 30-40 dollar tickets because the experience (and pictures) are worth that much. Where else would you find a swing inside of a banana room?
These experiences also have the air of exclusivity to it. The MOIC teamed up with American Express to give card-holders premium access to tickets to ensure they’d save their spots. The exclusivity is then transferred over onto social media platforms. Have you ever dipped yourself into a sprinkle pool or an adult-size ball pit? I have, and I have plenty of photos to prove it.
Millennials are sparking a new movement within art.
These new-type museums are becoming more and more popular; artists are re-inventing what it means to produce museum pieces and creating new art that steps outside of the box. We now have scratch-and-sniff walls, unicorns in a front of psychedelic wall paper, and printed selfies littering the floor of rooms filled with purple. So, the next time you see a sold-out museum focused on donuts, you can thank us Millennials.
Julie Jung is a junior at the University of California, Davis with a focus in psychology and public service. She is currently the LinkedIn Campus Editor for UC Davis as well as a Recruiting Intern at 3P Partners. She aspires to write about what makes people special, curious, and (most importantly) human.

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