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Pursuits
Businessweek

What If the Museum of Ice Cream Is the Future of Retail?

The interactive “museums” you love to hate are laughing all the way to the bank.

Customers shop and take pictures in front of ice cream freezers stocked with The Pint Shop brand ice cream pints. Flavors include Cherrylicious, Vanillionare, and Nana Banana.

Customers shop and take pictures in front of ice cream freezers stocked with The Pint Shop brand ice cream pints. Flavors include Cherrylicious, Vanillionare, and Nana Banana.

Photographer: David Williams for Bloomberg Businessweek

At the Museum of Ice Cream, patrons can ride in an ice cream sandwich swing, swim in a pool of plastic ice cream ­sprinkles, and seesaw on a giant ice cream scoop. But you already knew that. Its often sold-out installations are extensively documented on the Instagram feeds of David Beckham, Beyoncé, and the thousands of noncelebrities lucky enough to get in.

Contrary to its name, the Museum of Ice Cream, a pop-up attraction now in San Francisco, isn’t a museum. It’s more like a playground with no age limit. It’s also the most visible end of a growing movement that’s blurring the line between shopping and entertainment. Rosé Mansion, which opened on July 12 in New York, is a two-story celebration of the pink drink with rooms of rose petal baths and décor resembling Champagne bubbles. Candytopia, a real-life Candy Land with a marshmallow pit and edible confection samples, opens Wednesday in New York with another Bay Area pop-up in September.