The Seattle Selfie Museum opened in the beginning of last year to lines of visitors waiting to take photos behind one of two dozen colorful and immersive backdrops designed to help craft the perfect Instagram shot.
Now, after closing for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic and safety regulations, the museum is back open — and influencers, families, couples and tourists are flocking back to take their endless selfies.
“It’s not a museum in your classical understanding way, where you would come in and find the exhibits,” said Alex Kurylin, who co-founded the Seattle Selfie Museum with Igor Benchak. ”Here you have to actually participate and you are part of the art yourself.”
Whether the attraction is considered an official museum or not is up for debate. The artwork in a few of the installations is made by artists, but most of the installations are put together by Kurylin and Benchak, who say they’re “not artists by any means.”
Kurylin admits it’s more of a photo studio, and said that calling it the Selfie Museum made for a fun name (one they’ve now trademarked). “What makes it art is what you make with it,” Kurylin said. “You decide if it’s art or if it’s just a picture for your profile.”
For an hour, and about $30 per session, visitors wander around the two floors interacting with props, standing on furniture or simply striking the perfect pose behind a backdrop.
Sessions are limited to a max of 25 people to practice safe social distancing and comply with Phase 3 restrictions. People are asked to keep their masks on when they’re near another group or not taking photos at an installation.
These type of “Instagram museums” have popped up around the country and world, including the Museum of Ice Cream, the Color Factory in New York and Candytopia in Philadelphia. They’re becoming increasingly popular destinations in our social media-obsessed culture.
Along with the location in Seattle, the company has Selfie Museums in Denver, Atlanta, Miami. It’s opening two new locations in the near future, though has not yet disclosed where.
While it started out as a temporary pop-up in Seattle, Kurylin says that, for now, the Seattle Selfie Museum is here to stay.