An elevator inside a museum is not an unusual thing. But a museum inside an an elevator, that makes a person look twice. The Mmuseumm, one of New York City’s smallest cultural institutions, is exactly that, a 36-square-foot space that was once a freight elevator, facing off a narrow, graffiti-ed alleyway in the area of Tribeca.
Packed into that small space on clean white shelves with sterile lighting are 16 collections that “explore themes of daily human existence, social issues, and current events.” The collections range from a set of incubating chicken eggs expected to hatch any day to a set of 3D-printed masks based on DNA collected from tossed-aside gum and cigarette butts.
The Mmuseumm refers to itself as a “modern natural history museum,” and its goal is to catalog the artifacts of humanity today, rather than the past. One of the collects is prison handicrafts. Another is handmade anti-riot-police gear from protests around the world.
This year, they’ve also opened their first annex, Mmuseumm 2, a 20-square-foot closet of space filled with more neat white shelves and the artifacts of Sara Berman, grandmother to one of the Mmuseumm’s co-founder’s. The pristine, neatly arrayed clothing and shoes in shades of white are meant to contrast vividly with the alley outside the Mm2’s door, juxtaposing a pursuit of perfection against the entropy of life.
If the Mmuseumm continues to expand, it will be in that manner, as tiny disconnected spaces, because the cramped quarters are party of the message. Alex Kalman, Josh Safdie and Ben Safdie, the Mmuseumm’s founders, say that the mission is “to allow people to look at the big through the small.”
For more information, visit Mmuseumm.