A new so-called 'selfie museum' in Budapest that lets visitors pose by pink palm trees and frolic in multicoloured sprinkle baths has proved a hit with social-media savvy locals and tourists alike.
With almost 30,000 visitors since it opened in December 2018, the ‘Selfie Museum’, billed as the first of its kind in Europe, is already one of the Hungarian capital's most popular attractions.
Its creators say their idea, inspired by a similar venue in the US, is targeted at the younger generation looking for an edge to their status updates or profile pictures. “We play with shapes and colours, and try to push people's borders and let their creativity bloom,” said Lilla Gangel, who co-founded the museum with her partner Balazs Koltai.
Visitors entering the first of 11 exhibition rooms are met with palm trees growing from the walls and pink-coloured ceilings and surroundings. “Here you can stand out from the crowd, perhaps by finding a crazy new perspective like an aerial photo, or by playing with the quirky props,” said 33-year-old Gangel.
“There are more and more places on the internet where you can share photos, we're living in this type of world now, whether we like it or not,” she said.
The selfie opportunities among the 11 interactive installations at the 400-square-metre facility include a ride on banana swings, a climb on a unicorn, or a lounge on giant macaroons.
Word about the new museum has spread fast, unsurprisingly, on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. “They're typical teenagers, they like Instagram and photos,” Oli, an Israeli tourist said while her young daughters threw exaggerated poses behind her. “These are the times we are living in, what can you do,” she laughed.
Typical visitors are aged between 13 and 30, according to Gangel, although recently a pair of pensioners popped in to top up their photos for an annual calendar they present to each other.
Panka Major, an 18-year-old Hungarian student, said she was an avid user of social media but lamented that “nowadays everyone checks their phones every minute”. “It's a natural thing but also bad, as you do not live in the moment, and instead reach for a phone to record it,” she said.
Featured image: Museum founder Lilla Gangel poses for photos at the 'Selfie Museum' in Budapest downtown. Image: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP