Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) debuted in 2016 not as a traditional museum describing the history of ice cream but as a place to “inspire the world through imagination and connection.” Touted as being Instagram-worthy, many social media sites depict photos of joyous faces playing, laughing, and posing in glamourous clothes amidst life-sized gummy bears, unicorns, and cherries. According to the official website, each exhibition is meant to appeal to the five senses and allow one to indulge and connect to one another. From the signature sprinkle pool to the mysterious mint jungle, there are team members who set the stage and try to encourage one to be creative and “let loose.”
During my visit with a few geeky friends, we went to the special Pinkmas event (November 23, 2018 to January 6, 2019). We were greeted by a forest of pink and white Christmas trees and urged to take part in a Pinkmas carol (basically, an altered version of the traditional Christmas song). Afterwards, we were invited to explore, try the Cherrylicious ice cream, and take photos of the exhibits and props that were set up.
The sprinkle pool was the most popular of the exhibitions as noted by the number of people posing in the pool for photos and the child-like joy and wonder that many of them expressed.
Following that was the mint jungle. The team member challenged us to answer three questions about ice cream in order to try the mochi.
Next, we trooped into the disco rainbow room with its white unicorns. The rainbow room, according to the official website, symbolizes San Francisco’s acceptance of the LGBTQ community. We also tried the ice cream popsicles that were offered.
The other rooms allowed us to write heartfelt messages to strangers, try cotton candy and hot chocolate; and make a wish upon a candle.
While admittedly the exhibitions are well designed for photo opportunities and the team members were enthusiastic, the MOIC concept does not work on its own. It requires the willingness of the visitors to let go and have fun, so it may not appeal to everyone. Ice cream may be a universal symbol of childhood joy for the majority of people, but in the end, MOIC is an interactive art form that only appeals to a certain wavelength of people who are willing to immerse themselves in the experience. It is for the moment that one lives.
Museum of Ice Cream. (n.d.) About. Museum of Ice Cream. Retrieved from https://www.museumoficecream.com/about/
Weiner, A. (2017, 2 October). Is Maryellis Bunn the Millenial Walt Disney? New York Magazine. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/10/museum-of-ice-cream-maryellis-bunn.html