+40 726 302 969


Why do brands open Instagrammable museums

Go back

With Instagram growing and growing (having reached 1 Billion monthly active users), brands have started opening their own museums, begging visitors to share their shows under dedicated hashtags.

For this article, I tried to explain why brands are opening museums and how the fast growth of Instagram has changed the way we enjoy museums.

Museums are changing

The days when people were satisfied by simply looking at art in the museums are gone. Nowadays, people want to be art, not just see art.

Curators and artists are moving beyond made-for Instagram exhibitions to create immersive and interactive museums that inspire new levels of stimulation and engagement.

Not long ago, museums were trying to curb phone use and picture-taking. In the past year or two, no museum I visited asked me to leave the selfie stick at the door or not take photos. As many others, I enjoy savouring galleries my own way & I love taking pictures to what seems important to me, for my friends to see what I have experienced. But as museums are becoming more social media friendly, their policies are changing. To help spread the art, some museums even have signs with `Photography encouraged`.


Photo taken at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Source:

The museum experience must be instagrammable nowadays

Vox explained how new museums are shaping how we consume art. The viewer is invited to create a piece of art or to physically see himself in it. Being immersed in the actual art makes him the protagonist of the entire exhibition. This is what makes the new museum experiences instagrammable.

This technique has been proven to be the key to success for many museums who charge over $20 / visit only to allow visitors to create Instagrammable content. Here are the most popular installations / museums on Instagram in 2018.

Keep in mind that Instagrammable museums don’t require any historical knowledge, context, or even patience to be enjoyed. In my opinion, this makes them a lot more fun and easier to access.

The Museum of Ice Cream

The Museum of Ice Cream (mounted in New York, Los Angeles, Miami Beach and San Francisco) describes itself as not your traditional museum. ”The global phenomenon that has you swimming in a Sprinkle Pool & tasting your way to childhood on a unicorn” challenges you to leave reality behind and discover Mint Chip Jungles, Cookie Carousel rides or Cherry Clouds while eating ice cream, of course. wrote that, according to Instagram, in 2017 it was the 10th most photographed museum in the world. This places it in the same league as the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This means Mona Lisa on the same level as a pool filled with plastic ice cream toppings where people take selfies.

All tickets are $38 and there are no refunds. In San Francisco, tickets go for as much as $125 on the secondary market, according to MarketWatch. No wonder there are hundreds of thousands of posts under the #museumoficecream


What stroke me was the disclaimer on their website: “All captured content taken by MOIC of its guests and experience is the property of MOIC. All captured content of MOIC posted publicly, by outside persons, is released to MOIC for public use.” Basically, you pay $38 to rent their photo booth installations.

The Egg House

After being a hit in New York City, this egg-themed pop-up installation moved in Shanghai for 3 months. Same as the Museum of Ice Cream, it’s based on Instagrammable exhibitions, all creating the home of Ellis the egg, who invites people to immerse themselves in multisensory installations dedicated to everyone who wants to have fun. According to the official website, Ellis the egg is going to keep rolling around the globe, bringing more joy and sharing his dreams to everyone in the world!

To visit the Egg House, you have to pay from $9 to $29 a visit.

29Rooms by Refinery29

29Rooms is one of the first digital art exhibitions to make the visitor the protagonist. It is actually the trendsetter who inspired Xu Biubiu to open The Egg House. Set up by Refinery29, a digital media and entertainment company, 29Rooms immediately created the pop-up exhibition trend. San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles where the exhibition was held so far. Some call it the pop-up millennial answer to Disneyland.

According to Piera Gelardi, co-founder and executive creative director of Refinery29, “29Rooms combines the interactivity of a funhouse and the cultural relevance of a museum but it’s also a museum where you can touch the art, punch the art, ride on the art, you can be the art”.

How much are the tickets? $40 for General Admission & $130 for Starlight Sessions (more room to dance, create and explore, a smaller group of people admitted at once). Brands have to pay big bucks to get thrown in the spotlight of this And Mastercard is already a partner.

Color Factory

Color Factory is a collaborative interactive exhibit that debuted in San Francisco in 2017. It was supposed to be a month-long exhibit, but unexpectedly flourished and became a big hit and is currently located in New York City.

Color Factory invites people to be curious, discover and play in a 20,000 square feet museum. How much are the tickets? $38 for General Admission

Museum of Senses Bucharest

Opened a year ago in Bucharest, Museum of Senses was visited by over 100.000 people. It has 13 rooms and consists of interactive art pieces & optical illusions separated into themed rooms. It’s a great place for taking funny pictures and have a laugh with your friends. The price is 10$.

I’m happy this hype arrived in Bucharest & that Romanians embraced it! And we saw some local brands have started creating personalized exhibitions as press events in the Museum of Senses. I believe this is just the beginning.

Here’s why brands are building their own museums

In this digital world where everything has to look good on Instagram, brands are not building museums to preserve heritage or honor arts. They are and will be setting up museums to get closer to their audience. I believe the next decade will bring many brand owned museums. After all, every brand tries to create memorable live experiences that resonate with consumers and leave a lasting impression. And Instagrammable museums might be driven a crowd that might not go to museum otherwise.

Brand heritage museums

Most brands that showcase the company history in museums are automotive brands. Most of them have as object the history of the company. We got so used to hearing about the Harley-Davidson, Porsche, Ferrari or Mercedes-Benz museums, that we don’t even think these are an effective way to build a stronger relationship with the consumer. Brand heritage can be an emotional journey for the consumer.

But car brands are not the only ones with branded museums. In 2017 and 2018, we saw many brands creating exhibitions for a single campaign. The most famous was The Cheetos Museum. It all started with NPC based on a product insight: no 2 Cheetos look the same. Consumers were asked to find the most creative shapes and upload pictures of them with a description. They had over 100,000 shapes submitted & the best of them made it to the Cheetos Museum in New York’s Grand Central Station. The museum (where even the walls were made of Cheetos) was opened to the public. The campaign (with many mentions on Instagram) resulted in the brand’s highest sales week ever. They fans even started selling Cheetos them on eBay, like pieces of art they were.

”Luxury maisons are now putting their own museums on the map, showing not only their own heritage and inspirations but also works of art from contemporary maestros” writes South China Morning Post. It’s the case for Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada. As SCMP points out, luxury brands artistic foundations also have the mission to educate & create anticipation in the younger generations of art lovers, to ensure brand equity in the long run.

Rose Wines Mansion

I found the perfect example with which to sum up: Rose Wine Instagrammable Mansion! Open to the public in NYC last summer, this Instagrammable place is a multi-room walk-through experience dedicated to Rosé wine. Their Instagram account invites people to walk through the history, culture & science of Rosé wine while drinking it. All tickets include wine samples equalling 2 glasses of wine. In my opinion, this is the perfect example of how brands should connect with the younger audience: delivering the brand message in a fun matter, while allowing the audience to experience it & giving customers reasons to spread the world and brag about their experience. It’s a great way to communicate the brand values, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in brand’s history.

View this post on Instagram

🎉Did you know that at this point last year, Rosé Mansion was only a dream? 🎉 . And while New Year's resolutions are awesome, sometimes it might feel more attainable to focus on a dream rather than a resolution. So, what are your dreams for 2019? What are you going to create this year? This time last year we knew we wanted to do a Rosé experience, we wanted to teach people about Rosé in a fun and interactive way. Then in the summer of 2018, we launched our first Rosé Mansion in New York City and not only did you show up you celebrated. You rang in birthdays, toasted to bachelorette parties, drank to promotions and new jobs, and cheered to family reunions. Two different couples even proposed and were engaged here! You taught us that Rosé Mansion is a place for celebration. . . . Our dream wouldn't have come true without your support, your photos, and your excitement. We have even bigger plans for 2019 that we can't wait to share with you. So stay tuned! . . . 📸: @hope.good

A post shared by Rose Wine Mansion (@rosewinemansion) on

View this post on Instagram

🌸Just a little reminder, Darling.🌸

A post shared by Rose Wine Mansion (@rosewinemansion) on

If you know other brand owned museum, tell us here or via social media!


If you liked the article, you might also like the followings: