You’ve heard of the pop-up store and pop-up restaurant, but apparently the pop-up museum is also becoming a thing. The Museum of Feelings, located at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park, is a pop-up installation devoted to sights and smells. The idea of making emotions “touchable” is not new and reminds me of when I was in graduate school and a fellow student wrote his dissertation on “Museums and the Five Senses”. He’s now a museology professor and I’m writing this blog. If he’s reading this, let me just say “Hey! What’s up? Can you feel me?”
Anyway, back to the main topic at hand – there are no “exhibits” as you would find in a typical museum, instead visitors move through themed rooms with their own distinctive aroma and specifically-colored light show. The “Optimistic Room” is bathed in vivid pink and purple light with a smell of “Radiant Berries.” The “Joyful Room” is covered in green LED light plastic tubes; while the “Calm Room” resembles a cloud and has the scent of “Vanilla and Lavender.” One could suggest that the pop-up exhibit is an advertisement for Glade products, which is a company that conveniently makes smells…and just happens to be the museum’s main sponsor. So the focus on aromas makes perfect sense!
Because this is a capitalist world, most museums focus on the shop and the “Museum of Feelings is no different. At the end, visitors can buy candles and distillations of the scents they smelled in the various rooms. Although education and entertainment can coexist in the museum world, are people really learning at this place? Highly doubtful. The museum is basically a giant marketing scheme posing as an art experience. Yet it has been quite successful with long lines (one Saturday there were 3,000 people standing in a four-hour line to attend) and tens of thousands of #museumoffeelings pics on Instagram. So maybe people don’t want to learn and just want to feel. Who knows?
The museum’s three-week life span will soon be coming to an end this Tuesday, so if you live in the NYC area and want to experience some feelings and take some selfies, get yourself down to Battery Park.