(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The museum selfie is having a moment as highlighted in a recent article found in the Los Angeles Times. LACMA embraced the selfie trend early with its ‘Urban Light’ sculpture and other institutions around the world are creating selfie opportunities as a way to attract visitors, especially millennials. Some museums are even designing architecture to encourage the selfie-trend. The Centre Pompidou in Paris placed stickers on the floor to indicate the best selfie spots and museums like the San Francisco Modern Museum of Art understands the value gained through community marketing. “Social media put a huge premium on the instant sharing of experience,” said Kate Flint, a USC art history professor. 

Not everyone, however is chasing the selfie opportunity. “The upside is that people share their experiences, word spreads, more people come, young people can relate,” said Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum in West Los Angeles. The downside: They don’t often have intimate or contemplative experiences with the art, she continued. “That’s what we’re giving up.” At the Hammer Museum, the spinning chairs in its main courtyard have become an unexpected selfie photo experience and the museum administrators subsequently created a hashtag to encourage and promote the photo-taking already taking place. The ultimate hope by museums is to get more people in front of art and if the way to do that is digitally, many institutions are choosing to step forward to meet the trends embraced by millennials. “We fundamentally believe that everything we do digitally is still designed to get a human being in front of a physical artwork,” Chad Coerver, chief content officer at SF MOMA said. “If selfies encourage that to happen, that’s a good thing for museums. It reinforces this idea that you have to be there.”

To read the LA Times article, click here.