Instagram worthy: Museums evolve in the age of social media

As the desire to have a perfect appearance on social media spreads, even things and places in the real world begin to accommodate society’s desires. Take the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), for example, the picture-perfect interactive art exhibit with locations in Manhattan, San Francisco and Miami.

This relatively new museum, established in 2016, is social media inclined. It is designed to showcase the joy that ice cream brings to people and demonstrate the belief that anything is possible, through exhibits like a sprinkle-filled pool or wall of whipped cream. At the same time, it provides an aesthetically pleasing look that many visitors take advantage of as a spot to take photos for social media platforms.

“MOIC is an experience-first brand fueled by the power of imagination. From installations that ignite all five senses to products made to inspire, we lead with the honest belief that anything is possible,” according to the MOIC website.

Some people consider themselves to be fans of the more standard art museum experience. Senior Molly Teller fits this description, but is also open to the idea of interactive exhibits. She is drawn to the concept of being in such close proximity with the artwork, which offers a different perspective that is difficult to get from photos.

“Whenever I visit my grandparents in D.C. we stop by the sculpture garden which has some crazy, modern art. In my opinion it’s totally cool to use artwork on display for social media as long as you know that the artist is comfortable with the piece being shared and credit is given, if it comes from a lesser known exhibit or installment,” Teller said.

Art teacher Kathleen Kikta also prefers the more traditional route when it comes to seeing artwork, but acknowledges the benefits of artwork being used for social media purposes, such as serving as a background for artsy Instagram photos.

“I think social media helps to circulate artwork a lot more globally. You can be in New York, for example, and see artwork anywhere in the world through the Internet. But I do think there’s something very important about being able to see art in person, up close, eye-to-eye, rather than seeing it online,” Kikta said.

Seeing as interactive museums offer an alternative, nontraditional way to display, interact and connect with artwork, many people may be reluctant to consider visiting. However, this new kind of art museum could be here to stay, so it might not be a bad thing to stop by and see what it’s all about. For those interested in the interactive exhibit experience, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) offers various exhibits allowing visitors of all ages to get an involved, hands-on experience.

“I think that also shows why these new museums could be really important, since they’re exposing people to types of arts that aren’t commonly seen in traditional or even modern art museums that pull in major crowds. As much as you might be enamored with a specific style of artwork, take advantage of opportunities to see something new because art isn’t anything without exploration.” Teller said.


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