The Seattle Selfie Museum opened early last year for visitors waiting to snap photos behind one of two dozen colorful and haunting backdrops designed to help create the perfect Instagram shot.
Now, having closed for a few months due to coronavirus pandemic and security regulations, the museum has reopened – and influencers, families, couples, and tourists are flocking back to take their endless selfies.
“It is not a museum in your classical understanding where you would find the exhibits,” said Alex Kurylin, who co-founded the Seattle Selfie Museum with Igor Benchak. “Here you actually have to participate and you are part of the art yourself.”
Whether or not the attraction counts as an official museum is up for debate. The artwork in some installations is from artists, but most of the installations were put together by Kurylin and Benchak, who say they are “by no means artists.”
Kurylin admits that it’s more of a photography studio, and said the selfie museum made a fun name (one that they have now registered as a trademark). “What makes it an art is what you do with it,” Kurylin said. “You decide if it’s art or if it’s just a picture for your profile.”
For an hour and around $ 30 per session, visitors wander the two floors, interacting with props, standing on furniture, or simply showing the perfect pose in front of a backdrop.
Sessions are limited to a maximum of 25 people in order to practice safe social distancing and comply with Phase 3 restrictions. Individuals are asked to keep their masks if they are around another group or if they are not taking photos during an installation.
These types of “Instagram museums” have popped up across the country and around the world, including the Museum of Ice Cream, the Color Factory in New York, and Candytopia in Philadelphia. They are becoming increasingly popular destinations in our social media obsessed culture.
In addition to the Seattle location, the company has selfie museums in Denver, Atlanta, Miami. It will open two new locations in the near future but has not yet announced where.
While it started out as a temporary pop-up in Seattle, Kurylin says the Seattle Selfie Museum will stay here for the time being.
is an employee photographer for the Seattle Times. Reach her at [email protected]