Founded in 2016, the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) is a millennial pink shrine to ice cream with locations in New York City, Texas, and Singapore. The self-coined experium (experience + museum) features a dessert bar, spiked ice cream lounge, adult play pin, selfie studio, sprinkles swimming pool, and retail shop rolled into one.
For an experiential and social media-friendly venue, the past two years’ COVID-related lockdowns naturally impacted MOIC’s operations and visitorship. “Having to operate in three different cities, all with a different set of rules that were constantly changing due to the pandemic, was indeed a challenge,” says Pirakash T, MOIC’s Head of Asia-Pacific. But summer 2021 saw the attraction rebound, recording its strongest summer of sales in New York City, according to the museum.
Despite COVID restrictions lifting in certain metropolitan areas, the pandemic is far from over and MOIC recognizes the need to remain adaptable. “We live in an endemic world and international tourism numbers are still far away from the pre-COVID world,” Pirakash says. “As an attraction, we need to be agile to adapt to evolving situations while also finding new and innovative ways to introduce new programs and drive repeat visitorship.”
One pandemic precaution is MOIC’s sprinkle pool which features over one hundred million antimicrobial biodegradable sprinkles regularly disinfected in an antibacterial sprinkle shower. But apart from increased hygiene protocols, MOIC does not intend to add additional technology into the space: “We want people to be off their devices and immersed in the real world.
And with increasing competition in the experiential attraction market, MOIC knows that customers are becoming more discerning. “It is important for us to be more than just a brand that sells tickets and one that is able to create and engage communities to share the love of ice cream,” Pirakash says.
As for what conventional museums can learn from experiential attractions, Pirakash emphasizes a focus on user experiences that “induce a positive feeling” and addressing ways to add value to visitors’ lives. “At Museum of Ice Cream, we believe anything is possible and we like to challenge conventional norms to create experiences that people have not seen, tasted, felt, or smelt before,” he says. “Consumers are always looking to experience something new and like to provide others with valuable and exciting content through social media.”