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Peak Instagrammability: Where’s the FOMO if everyone has the same selfie?

museum of ice cream sprinkle pool

A recent interview with Museum of Ice Cream founder Manish Vora, revealed that he believes more social interaction and less social media is key for visitors.

So if the poster child for Instagram Museums is advocating more human interaction have we reached peak instagrammability?

The Museum of Ice Cream started off as a pop-up art installation in New York. With it’s bright colours and fun “exhibits” it quickly became known for its instagrammability, with millennials flocking to take fun selfies in the sprinkle pit. It sold 30,000 tickets before it was even built and now has a permanent location in San Francisco.

Since then we have seen a boom in rather lightweight, pop-up, attention-grabbing experiences, from Rosé Mansion to the Museum of Pizza.

However, in an interview with Yale News, alumni Vora talks about how important a human connection is. He even advocates games and play rather than endless selfie snaps.

Is the Insta-experience evolving?

Millennials travel for selfies

Research from JetCost quoted in Travel Pulse, reveals that the opportunity to take and share a great selfie is driving the choice of holiday destinations for millennials. In a survey of over 4,000 Americans between the ages of 22 and 37, one in five said they had travelled to get a specific photo op.

However, the rush to iconic locations is leading to overcrowding and preservation issues at beauty spots.

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Did you visit a national park over the July 4th holiday weekend? There may be nothing more American than our national parks, but you probably also experienced long wait times and crowds. July 4th was busy at Zion too! Here are some interesting facts about the 4-day holiday weekend: • Over 94,000 visitors entered Zion Canyon and they boarded the shuttle bus a total of 154,000 times. • All available parking, including overflow parking, in the park was full by 8:30 am on both Friday and Saturday. All available parking in the town of Springdale was nearly full by 1 pm. • Wait times on Friday and Saturday grew to 90 minutes for the park shuttle at the Visitor Center and 4 hours for Angels Landing at the trailhead. • The park responded to 6 separate emergency medical (EMS) or search and rescue (SAR) calls between Friday and Saturday. • All park dumpsters were emptied on Thursday and were overflowing by Monday morning. We went through 78 miles of toilet paper over the four days! That is nearly enough toilet paper to reach from Zion to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. • This heavy visitation puts a strain on park staff, resources, and infrastructure. We wouldn't have been able to provide the same level of service and organization without the support of our fantastic and dedicated volunteers. Thank you! • National parks, and especially Zion, are usually busy on holidays. The next holiday for us will be Pioneer Day, a Utah state holiday on July 24th. • NPS Photos #Zion #nationalpark #july4th #holiday #crowds #beprepared #planahead #narrows #angelslanding #shuttlebus

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ABC report that the rise of social media and geo-tagging is causing problems for many US national parks.

The Insta-crowds are flocking to the same vantage points on the Grand Canyon. Park officials are trying to encourage would-be photographers to visit lesser known areas to find a unique image.

Similarly the sprinkle pit selfie at the Museum of Ice Cream is ubiquitous online.

Will digital natives Gen Z have a different attitude to attractions as they begin to travel? It could be that they will be looking for deeper emotional connection and a unique experience?

Emotional connection, play and content

Two Bit Circus shuns smart phones and focus on play, interaction and fun. In their escape rooms there is something for everyone. The keen puzzle solvers get to do the challenging stuff, but those along for the ride can wind a handle that allows them to be involved but not stressed.

Museums have the massive advantage of their extensive collections and expert staff to draw on. The challenge is to look at new ways to engage visitor with their content. We have seen some fantastic examples of this, like Museum Meme Day, Archive Lottery and the Demigods Audio Tour at the Getty Villa.

If visitors want to look beyond a single image, then attractions that can offer something of more substance should triumph.

After all if everyone has the same selfie where’s the FOMO?

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Rachel Reed

Rachel Read

Rachel is Finance Director. She has a degree in engineering from Cambridge University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Deloittes in London. She worked in finance in industry for twenty years. She oversees our news and also manages our events.

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