Why do people take selfies? Is it vanity? Pride? Posing with a celebrity? Over a million selfies are uploaded to social media every day. Why? The roots of documenting a feeling, accomplishment or event to share with others dates back thousands of years ago.
Created by Tair Mamedov (stand-up comedian, writer, director, and game designer) Tommy Honton (writer, game designer, and narrative experience creator known best for the escape rooms at Stash House in Koreatown) and produced by Abylay Zhakashov (investor, entrepreneur, and film producer), Honton was kind to give me and my family a tour of The Museum of Selfies in Glendale, CA.
Honton shared how “Selfies are not a new phenomenon – it’s something that people have been doing for 4,000 years.” This museum is an immersive, fun venue that enlightens participants through art, history, technology, and culture. It’s also a super cool place to take selfies in over 10 different interactive installations.
- Start at the entrance and drop a marble in either the “love” selfies or the “hate” selfies hole. At the end, if you were a hater, you might see selfies a different way and want to change your opinion. 2. #Timeline – Learn about the beginning of selfies along the gallery wall time line, starting 13.8 billion years ago during the Big Bang. Admiring various pieces of art on the wall, we learned that during 25,000 BCE, a realistic representation of a human face of The Venus of Brassempouy was carved in France. Wall drawings and paintings of people were discovered as early as 10,000 BCE in Brazil, and in the Cumberland Vallley Caves in Tennessee, USA. Honton showed us examples of self portraits drawn and painted in the 1400s. In the 1600s Rembrandt drew his earliest self portrait made in his early 20s.
The Museum of Selfies also curates works from modern artists exploring the art of selfies. Whimsical portraits include Mona Lisa, American Gothic and Vincent van Gogh holding out a smartphone are hung on the walls.3. Step into one of the best-loved Vincent van Gogh’s paintings – The Bedroom. It was painted in October 1888, when the artist was living in the Yellow House in Arles. The museum replicated The Bedroom to every detail.4. Step into a Black and White Photo Studio and put on hats to replicate a 1920s photo studio for a dramatic selfie.5. Do more women or men take selfies? #Selfiecity displays the results of a research project of 120,000 photos from 5 cities that were randomly selected. They discovered that WOMEN WIN! 1.3 times more in Bangkok with 55.2%, 1.9 times more in Berlin and 82% in Moscow. Bangkok and San Paulo selfie takers smile the most, while Moscow selfie takers smile the least. Most people were young, with Bangkok having 21 years old the average median age. New York City had the oldest average age of 25.3 years old. One interesting finding is Men’s average age is higher at 30+ when posting selfies on Instagram.6. Walking into the #Food Selfies area with extra large food props. Eating is one of the most primal and universal aspects of being human. Break bread or broccoli with friends and family. A beautiful plate of food can be visually-stunning and a work of art. Food selfies are the most polarizing of all selfies.
7. The “Narcissist” survey tallies the number of deaths from selfie-related accidents. Have fun in the exhibit highlighting reports of museum visitors who damage priceless works of art while trying to take the perfect selfie. That’s why selfie sticks are forbidden in most museums, but encouraged at The Museum of Selfies.8. Where is the best-known selfie location? The Bathroom. Taking a photo in a bathroom mirror used to be a quick solution to snap a selfie. Now smartphones features wider-angle lenses and front-facing screens with the touch of a button. Walk into the #Bathroom Selfie exhibit offers a creative illusion.9. Another popular selfie wall is #Finish Line Selfies. Learn why people take selfies to share an accomplishment, share joy and connect with others. Don DeLeon shares his photos with The Museum of Selfies.
10. Play in the visual artist #Darel Carey installation made with black tape for eye-popping selfies. normal visit should take about 60-90 minutes.
The Pop-Up museum opened on April 1st and closes on May 31st. It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to explore. The Museum of Selfies is closed to the public on Mondays.
Admission is $25 and free for children ages 0-4
211 N Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA 91203