You might not have been inside yet, but you’ve probably seen The Museum of Ice Cream on Instagram or some form of social media.
The temporary museum, which sits just across from The Whitney in New York’s Meatpacking District, was opened July 29th – September 4th. Though the museum’s founders, Maryellis Bunn and her boyfriend Manish Vora, have not officially announced an extension of the project, they are certainly looking into it so more people can bathe in sprinkles and add a scoop to the “world’s largest ice cream sundae.” Until then, your best hope of getting in is keeping an eye on the museum’s social media announcements, because they have been releasing small batches of tickets online first thing in the morning.
Mr. Vora and Ms. Bunn call this museum a “passion project,” but the elements of corporate marketing here are not subtle — more than 30 so-called partners or sponsors are affiliated with the museum, including the chocolate brand Dove, which provides samples, and Fox, which sponsored an entire room.
In one room dedicated to ice cream cones, the wall is covered in vague, uncredited trivia — “cones damaged during production are further ground down into animal feed” — and guests can suck on a helium-filled balloon made of heated sugar.
Next door, in an ice cream scoop room, guests can take a scoop of vegetable shortening laced with sugar and deposit it in a huge bowl to help make “The World’s Largest Ice Cream Sundae.”
The experience is oddly satisfying. But, I asked, how can it be an ice cream sundae if all we’re doing is spooning lard into a bowl?
“You know social media,” Eyan Edwards, who was minding the scoops, replied. “It’s all about looks.”
There is a chocolate room, which has an almost sickly sweet smell of syrup. There is a chocolate bean bag in the middle of the room, where Ms. Bunn flops and beckons guests to look at the swirling liquid chocolate projections on the wall.
In one corner, a chocolate fountain spews brown fluid onto a white counter — unappetizing, to say the least.
After bypassing the odd little fountain, guests are treated to the museum’s main attraction: a room with a swimming pool full of rainbow “sprinkles.” The sprinkles are tiny bits of hard plastic that embed themselves between your toes for hours after the experience is over.
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