The Museum of Ice Cream Is Opening a Supersized Permanent New York Flagship, With a Three-Story Slide and a ‘Hall of Giant Scoops’

Don't call it a museum, though. It's an "experium."

Museum of Ice Cream cofounders Manish Vora and Maryellen Bunn. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Ice Cream.

New York is about to get a whole lot sweeter. The juggernaut that is the Museum of Ice Cream, which helped kick the pop-up museum trend into high gear with the launch of its first New York edition in 2016, has announced plans to return to the city with its first permanent space, coming this fall to 558 Broadway in Soho. The original version, sited across from the Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District, was an instant sensation, selling out 30,000 tickets in just five days.

To date, the MOIC has had over 1.5 million visitors across pop-ups in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and San Francisco. It has also branched into retail with a Sephora makeup collection, a branded ice cream, and a branded children’s clothing line for Target. It has also inspired seemingly countless imitators, from the avocado-themed CADO, to the Museum of Pizza, to the Dream Machine.

If you haven’t had your Instagram moment at the MOIC yet, it may have been worth waiting. The new museum will cover nearly 25,000 square feet, with the largest version of its signature sprinkle pool to date. Guests can also look forward to 13 brand new installations inspired by ice cream and other desserts, created by MOIC’s architects and designers. Highlights will include a three-story slide, a floating table of desserts, a hall of giant scoops, a MTA-inspired “Celestial Subway,” and a hidden “Queen Bee hive.”

“Being able to build out from a cold, dark shell and literally design every square inch of the experience truly is a dream from a creative perspective,” MOIC co-founder Maryellis Bunn told Fast Company of the new location. “We can deliver for the first time a state-of-the-art experience, because we’re able to create every square inch. In a pop-up environment, you can’t really do that.”

On the negative side, the price of entry has more than doubled, from just $18 in 2016 to a hefty $38—far more than the city’s premiere cultural destinations like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (both $25) or the nearby New Museum (just $12). (The MOIC already charges as much at its San Francisco location, which became permanent in September.)

The Sprinkle Pool at the Museum of Ice Cream San Francisco. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Ice Cream.

The sprinkle pool at the Museum of Ice Cream San Francisco. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Ice Cream.

The news comes on the heels of MOIC co-founders Bunn and Manish Vora’s announcement that they were launching a parent company, Figure8, with a $200 million valuation and $40 million in first-round funding. The company will specialize in what the duo are calling “experiums”—a term combining the words “experience” and “museum” that Figure8 has trademarked—a new way to talk about the so-called Instagram trap.

“For the last three years, we’ve been having conversations about what we create,” Bunn told Forbes. “‘Museum’ is not the right word and ‘experience’ is not the right word, because an experience can be having a cup of tea, writing a letter or walking outside. So we need to properly define this word for ourselves and for the world. ‘Experiums’ are spaces and places for people to reconnect with themselves and with those surrounding them.”

A rendering of the Museum of Ice Cream's new permanent New York flagship at 538 Broadway in Soho. Image courtesy of the Museum of Ice Cream.

A rendering of the Museum of Ice Cream’s new permanent New York flagship at 538 Broadway in Soho. Image courtesy of the Museum of Ice Cream.

Though it may seem like the pop-up museum phenomenon is nearing a saturation point, Bunn and Vora are betting that audiences’ appetite for photo-ready immersive theme installations remains unsated. A statement from Vora noted that “MOIC NYC is the first of several flagship locations that will launch in the US and abroad over the next 18 months.” The waiting list is already open for the forthcoming location, with the MOIC website warning that “tickets will sell out!”

Tickets for the Museum of Ice Cream at 528 Broadway, New York, go on sale October 9, 2019, and are $38. Children two and under are free. 

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