Other Stuff, Travel

Selfie Museums… Fun or Frivolous?

It seems these days, people will do anything for the ‘Gram. Instagrammers post beautiful, inspirational, and wacky pictures every day. Some share carefully crafted shots of them living their best lives, while others share their most mundane activities. With the right shot and a little creativity, anything can be an Insta-worthy picture. Consumers are able to live vicariously through the adventures of others, draw inspiration from the way fashionistas dress, be encouraged to try new foods through the delicious looking shots of a foodie’s dinner, and decide what new products to try through brand collaborations with influencers.

One of the latest “do it for the ‘Gram” crazes, are what as known as Selfie Museums. These interactive art exhibits typically take place in a large warehouse space. The space is then broken into smaller rooms with colorful walls and themed displays that the visitors are encouraged to play around and take photos in. Some of these spaces have included a giant ice cream sandwich swing, person-sized balloons to hide in, and grown-up ball pits. The displays include good lighting and camera stands to make sure you get the perfect shot. Whether visitors bring a professional photographer, or just a best friend and an iPhone, museum goers can get some great Instagram content.

Admission to the museums typically runs from $30-50 per person. Visitors are given 60-90 minutes to interact with the space and take photos. While Selfie Museums began in large markets, like Los Angeles and New York, they are popping up everywhere. Disneyland has added one to celebrate the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse. The spaces have even begun to make their way to mid-market cities like St. Louis.

The Selfie Room STL, Selfie Museum, Instagram Museum, Flower Wall

This spring, my husband and I took at trip to The Selfie Room St. Louis to see what it was all about. The museum is located downtown on Washington Ave., near the City Museum and some fantastic restaurants. Admission to the museum is $30 per person, which I will admit seemed pretty steep. However, I received a BOGO coupon for their grand opening, so at $15 each it seemed worth a try to see what it was all about.

When we arrived at the Selfie Room, we were greeted by an attendant who explained the use of the space and showed us around. There were lockers to store the things we didn’t want to carry all afternoon. There was also a large, well lit changing room with a mirror and vanity for makeup and hair touch ups. I brought a few outfits with me, since it is encouraged, and found the changing area to be spacious and easy to use. The attendant told us that the time for use of the space was around one hour, but since we were there on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn’t busy, we could stay as long as we like.

The Selfie Room is large and open with about a dozen photo areas that will be changed seasonally. We were there in late March, so many of the rooms had a spring or winter theme. The displays at the time included a room with rubber duckies and a large claw-foot bathtub, an area with fluffy clouds suspended from the ceiling, a graffiti mural painted by a local artist, and a wall decorated with colorful paper flowers. There was even a ball pit that a group of friends could play in.

Each area of The Selfie Room is equipped with a tripod and a light ring, with a space to hold any size phone. Some of the spaces had a lot of natural light coming from the street that made pretty pictures as well. Most of the rooms had props that we could interact with to add a little fun to the photos. We were encouraged to move the tripod and lighting around, as needed, to get a good shot. They had fun music playing in the studio which helped pep us up for action shots.

The Selfie Room STL, Selfie Museum, Instagram Museum, Graffiti Wall

When all was said and done, we probably spent an hour and a half at The Selfie Room. We had a fun time laughing together, practicing silly poses, and getting interesting Instagram content. After we were finished, we headed out to try some beer at a few of the pubs on Washington. It was a fun date afternoon. Spending time in The Selfie Room would make an interesting group date, family activity, or girl’s night out as well.

The Selfie Room STL, Selfie Museum, Instagram Museum, Moss Wall, Date Night

No reservations are required to go to use the space, however, The Selfie Room hosts special events on occasion that do require a reservation. It can be rented out for private parties, photographer mini-sessions, and more intimate photo shoots.

The Selfie Room STL, Selfie Museum, Instagram Museum

So, is visiting The Selfie Room worth the price tag? For $60, maybe not… but since we got in for half price, it was well worth the fun. The Selfie Room does offer student discounts and happy hour discounts throughout the year. I just think that the creators need to take some time to evolve and make themselves on par with the selfie exhibits in larger cities. The sets seem a bit simple right now. It also seems the marketing is focused on a younger crowd, though a larger, more diverse audience is encouraged to use the space. Perhaps including shots of a variety of ages and body types in their social feed would make the space seem less intimidating for the average customer.

I think, given time and a little support from the community, The Selfie Room will become an amazing activity to do in the city of St. Louis. I’m looking forward to seeing how they decide to decorate the space for autumn and the holidays! (Lots of Christmas lights, please!) I’d also love to go back with a professional photographer, rather than just my phone. At least for us, we found that selfie rooms are fun… we’ve already booked tickets for Pop-Up Disney in July!

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