How Do You Open an Interactive Museum in a Pandemic? Very Carefully

New York’s first Makeup Museum, an immersive, interactive idea specializing in contact and experimentation, was slated to open in May. Its premiere exhibition, “Pink Jungle: 1950s Makeup in America,” would encourage guests to participate in experiences like mixing their very own make-up or indulging in facials modeled on those given to Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo. Artifacts of that halcyon period, like elaborate compacts or rhinestone-studded lipstick instances, could be obtainable for dealing with.

Then the pandemic hit.

All museums closed, in fact, and have solely lately began to reopen, with many new restrictions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for instance, which reopened in late August, solely takes timed tickets or reservations and requires masks and temperature checks. An interactive make-up museum, nonetheless, dedicated to the thought of making use of merchandise to 1’s face, appeared like one other problem to determine altogether.

But on Tuesday, the Makeup Museum lastly opened to the general public after a full rethink of the place. Sampling colours and dealing with objects have been changed with social distancing guidelines, enhanced expertise and masks necessities. In addition to the standard inventive calls for of mounting an exhibit, the curators confronted “so much uncertainty, so many more logistical challenges,” stated Doreen Bloch, a museum co-founder.

The presentation of “Pink Jungle” was utterly overhauled. Gone have been any tactile parts that would not be instantly sanitized and the prop-heavy, Instagram-worthy photograph stations which have turn out to be the hallmark of different new interactive museums just like the Museum of Ice Cream and the KGB Espionage Museum. The “Mix Lab,” an interactive station where guests could create their own take-home beauty elixirs, was scrapped and the exhibition is now “an entirely touchless experience,” Ms. Bloch said

Regarding other objects in the exhibition, like eyeliner tools, hair dryers, and lipstick cases that show the evolution of packaging and equipment, curators met via FaceTime this summer to discuss how to reconfigure socially distanced display cases, wall mountings and demonstration tables. Touch screens to guide visitors through the show were replaced with an interactive phone app, which is also a way to visit the museum remotely.

Ms. Bloch said that not opening the Makeup Museum was never an option. “Everyone was so unanimous that the community wants and needs this,” she said. “So many people have been just so face-to-face with technology every day, that there is this craving for just being in that holy space that is a museum.”

And even though the museum is leaning heavily on technology to ensure a safe visit, it still offers an “analog” world, Ms. Bloch said.

“Museums just have an ability to hone our attention and allow us to focus on items or stories that matter and tell history in a really profound way,” she continued. “That’s never been done before for beauty.”

The Makeup Museum is at 94 Gansevoort Street in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. For more information, visit

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