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California chills out at the Museum of Ice Cream

31 October 2017

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

A pop-up museum concept in California has become an wild Instagram hit. With branches currently open in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Museum of Ice Cream is the brainchild of 25-year-old entrepreneur Maryellis Bunn, who launched the project in New York last year. ‘New York has institutions that have been around forever but there’s nothing new’, Bunn told Forbes. ‘I love ice cream. Any day of the week it brings me so much joy.’

And so a social media sensation was born. The two California branches have sold out of tickets (at $38 a pop). With attractions including giant popsicle sculptures, booths in which visitors can sample artisanal varieties of ice cream, and scratch’n’sniff wallpaper, the experience sounds like Insta-influencer heaven.

Nevertheless, the ‘museum’ – a word chosen because it was ‘something people understood’ – hasn’t delighted everyone. Its most popular attraction is a ball pit containing around 100 million tiny, colourful plastic beads designed to look like ice cream sprinkles, into which punters are invited to dive and take selfies to their hearts’ content. But the synthetic sprinkles are apparently sticking to visitors’ clothes and then littering sidewalks across LA and San Francisco – not so much fun, say critics, for the birds that might eventually swallow them…

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