When you visit a traditional museum, you usually find paintings and artifacts that you can’t touch. But there’s one in New York City that’s dedicated to tasty — and lickable — artwork.
The Museum of Ice Cream is a temporary exhibition located in New York’s Meatpacking District that’s devoted to the popular summer treat. Its doors officially open today, and visitors can drop in until the end of August.
The museum is a sweet and interactive experience that founder Maryellis Bunn calls “a modern Wonka,” her nod to Willy Wonka from the classic candy-centric book and movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“Like a lot of people, I have so many fond memories of ice cream,” Bunn says. “I wanted to create something fun and bring it to the masses.”
The museum is a collaborative effort between designers, ice cream makers, and even a food scientist! It isn’t sugarcoated, but you’re sure to get your sugar fix.
As visitors enter the six-room space, they are greeted with a cup of custom ice cream that changes weekly. A scoop of vanilla topped with Froot Loops and marshmallows is featured this week. The biggest and most-Instagram-able attraction is a life-size pool of rainbow sprinkles. Visitors can dip their toes in but, sorry, no diving!
Other features include a chocolate room where you can pick up bite-sized chocolates, edible balloons made with liquid sugar — inhale one and your voice will transform into a squeaky-helium tone; giggles will ensue — and a miracle berry tablet experiment that makes sour foods taste sweet (test it by sucking on lemon slices that top bright vanilla ice cream cones provided by the museum).
Dr. Irwin Adam, the founder of Future Food Studio, created both stations. “The edible balloons are reimagined cotton candy,” he says. “I brought the miracle berry tablets here so that people can understand how the chemistry of taste can be transformed.”
Fun facts about ice cream adorn the walls throughout the museum. Visitors learn that George Washington, America’s first president, was so in love with ice cream he spent $200 on it one summer more than 200 years ago. That’s the equivalent of $5,000 today. More than a century later, African American businessman Alfred Cralle invented one the most important tools in the ice cream world: the ice cream scooper.
Even before officially opening, the Museum of Ice Cream is officially as cool as the treat. Most tickets for museum admission have already been scooped up already — but don’t fret. More tickets will be released soon.
It’s worth the wait. Highlighting the joys, science, and history of ice cream, the museum will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth and heighten your confectionery knowledge.
Photos: Christina Tapper