This week, I went to the opening of the Happy Place museum in Chicago.  Billed as an instagrammers paradise, this pop up museum is a traveling roadshow of bright lights and whimsical rooms.  To be honest, I had never heard of the Happy Place pop up. The premise seemed peculiar, but so many people I spoke with were really excited to attend.  So, when contributor Shilpa and I were invited, we decided to attend.

 

The Happy Place Pop Up | the Happy Place Museum| The Happy Place Tickets |The Happy Place Chicago

What is The Happy Place Museum?

The Happy Place is billed as a museum. When I think of a museum, I think of a place that showcases the history of a particular place, person, building, or topic.  The Happy Place Museum showcases different ways to take photos and selfies.  Is this something that needs to be documented outside of social media?  Thankfully, the Happy Place pop up is just that; a pop up museum, meaning it is temporary.  There is no point, in my opinion, why anyone would need to visit to learn anything about pop art or anything beyond the narcissism of the Millenial generation.  Art installations may have the artist’s name listed, but with people stacking up behind you waiting for you to take your shot, how can you even notice?  You have to get your photos, get in, and get on to the next room.  Or the next line to the next room, depending on how many people there are walking through.

The Happy Place Pop Up | the Happy Place Museum| The Happy Place Tickets |The Happy Place Chicago

A $30 Happy Place Pop Up

There are so many things that I could spend $30 on.  I could buy a delicious lunch from The Craftsman in Naperville, for both my husband and myself.  Or, I could buy $30 worth of groceries. I could get a no chip manicure. I could visit SkyDeck or 360º Chicago over the weekend for less than $30. So, I think $30 is a bit steep for a building full of saccharin rooms intended to enrich a person’s Instagram account.  While the mission statement of the Happy Place states that it is intended as a place to embrace and make light of the happiness available in everyday life, I found it to be the opposite.  The ephemeral joy that one experiences in each room is nearly forgotten as soon as you walk through the next room.The Happy Place Pop Up | the Happy Place Museum| The Happy Place Tickets |The Happy Place Chicago

Who is the Happy Place Pop Up for?

The Happy Place Pop Up | the Happy Place Museum| The Happy Place Tickets |The Happy Place Chicago
I did embrace the photo opportunities while at the Happy Place pop up.
After a walk through the Happy Place, I wondered: is the Happy Place pop up for kids or just narcissists?  Walking through a maze of bright, hot rooms, with competing music pulsating through the speakers was not my definition of joyful. Some rooms had sugary treats, and along with the gimmick of bright colors and repeating patterns, the Happy Place served up more distraction than joy.  “Hey! I’m going to distract you from the world with this wall of gumball machines, and this room that is upside down! Look at me!  Look at me!”

Imagine walking through the Happy Place pop up without a camera.  Does it enrich you? Is it worth walking through if you don’t get a photo for social media?  I posit no.  When I used the I Amsterdam card at the Van Gogh Museum, photography was prohibited. It didn’t make a difference, because the exhibit wasn’t about you within the art, instead it was just about the art.   Without getting photos of yourself within the rooms, the value of the Happy Place museum drops precipitously.  It’s not because the rooms aren’t interesting or visually pleasing, because they are. It is because of the waiting you have to do in order for everyone else around you to “get the shot.”

You will see numerous influencers posting photos from The Happy Place pop up, and the photos will look awesome.  Keep in mind, these people have professional photographers with them, and have private access to the rooms.  It’s elitism at its finest, my friends.  The experience is less perfect than Instagram celebrities will have you believe.  Visiting as a member of the public means waiting in line

Why The Happy Place Pop Up Doesn’t Work in Chicago

Visiting Chicago during the Marathon | Chicago Marathon| Too Crowded Chicago | JaimeSays
Instead of visiting the Happy Place museum, consider one of the plethora of permanent structures of Chicago.

While Los Angeles has its redeeming qualities, it is known for being fake and materialistic. Fake “reality” shows are filmed there starring people with fake teeth, fake hair, and fake…other parts.  Chicago isn’t like that.  People in the Midwest are more salt of the Earth.  Sure, we’ve got our share of fakery, but the most iconic photos come from experiencing the parts of the city that are original and historic. The skyscrapers, the ferris wheel at Navy Pier, even the Chicago hot dog are all infamous because they were shiny and new many, many years ago. The cheesy, fleeting nature of the Happy Place museum is just too phony.  And with so many uncrowded, free attractions in Chicago, the Happy Place pop up just isn’t worth the $30.

 
>The Happy Place Pop Up | the Happy Place Museum| The Happy Place Tickets |The Happy Place Chicago
The Happy Place Pop Up | the Happy Place Museum| The Happy Place Tickets |The Happy Place Chicago

The Happy Place Pop Up | the Happy Place Museum| The Happy Place Tickets |The Happy Place Chicago