Instagrammable pop-up museums are all the rage (see: Museum of Ice Cream, Dream Machine, Color Factory), but the latest iteration of the selfie-ready gallery trend is for a very good cause. The Museum of Plastic aims to teach the masses about plastic pollution and the impact of single-use plastic water bottles on the oceans (and the rest of the planet).
The pop-up is a joint project between Lonely Whale, which is targeting plastic water bottles after it got the world on board with straw bans, and co-hosted by tech giant HP; Ever & Ever; media outlet Attn:, and chic water bottle purveyor S’well in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. (It’s on Broadway, you can’t miss the giant sign). The museum is basically a pop-up PSA that wants visitors to question how they hydrate and walk away with a newfound determination, and maybe a few selfies, too.
From the outside, the museum looks like its pop-up peers—slick, glossy, and perfect for selfies. In fact, when I stopped by yesterday for a preview, there was a group of phone-toting teens outside who were bummed when they were informed that the museum wasn’t open to the public yet. (It opens to the public on June 8.) Inside, the interactive space, which was designed by creative agency Young Hero, slyly takes visitors on a journey through plastic, from the seemingly overwhelming problem to practical solutions, leaving crowds with a bit of hope that a world without waste can happen.
Highlights include a giant receipt showing how revenue generated from bottled water is projected to reach $200 billion by the end of 2022 and what you could do with the money instead (like spend an entire year on Necker Island), and art from Sea Legacy‘s team of photographers. The effect is powerful, but playful, as it basically preaches about the threat of drowning in plastics through the power of selfies.
While the Plasticarium, a museum display with a similar mission, packed a small, but powerful punch, the Museum of Plastic is a fun way to inspire the selfie generation to take action and make a positive impact on the world. So go ahead and smile if you hate plastic!