September 22, 2019 | 77° F

RUPA hosts photogenic pop-up museum experience


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Photo by Clarissa Gordon |

When it comes to personal brands, it used to be about who you know. And social circles still matter, but for the social media generation, the places you’ve been are a reflection of your image just as much. Trendy concept stores and pop-up museums in major cities are booming in popularity because of the experiences they offer. 

Take the Color Factory in New York, for example. The interactive art exhibit draws crowds for its vivid, room-sized installations that are ideal for that picture-perfect Instagram shot. To appeal to the “pictures or it didn’t happen” demographic, Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) unveiled its pop-up museum on Wednesday, where it transformed the old Rutgers Club on 199 College Ave into a studio of aesthetically-pleasing backdrops. 

Shreya Sethi, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and RUPA’s director of Traditions and Community, said the association was inspired by visual concept spaces like the Color Factory and the Rose Mansion, and figured out a way to bring the big-city attraction to Rutgers. Many young people want these experiences but can’t always take the trip to New York and spend the hefty entrance fee for the sake of a cool Instagram post, so designing a pop-up free and open to the public right on campus was a perfect solution, Sethi said. 

RUPA encouraged registration prior to the event to avoid long lines, but walk-ins were welcome. Once settled in, groups of four were guided into five different rooms and allotted 5 minutes in each. 

Each room was designed to be picturesque. The first room eased you in and hyped you up, with a color-changing light-up dance floor that flashed as music bumped from the DJ’s speakers. Vibes in each room ranged from silly to romantic to serene, as strawberries hung from the ceiling and string lights illuminated the walls. 

One room gave a secret garden feel, as it was decorated in walls of ivy and roses with Victorian-era furniture and statues to pose with. Full of balloons and fluorescent lights, Room Two was arguably the biggest hit, as groups could live out their childhood memories in a blow-up ball pit. RUPA representatives were present in each room to socialize with attendees as well as to act as photographers and directors for friend photoshoots. And while the museum wasn’t professional, it still offered a unique experience and bonding moments for groups. 

The concept for such a museum on campus is an innovative way to draw student crowds and increase University morale and pride, a feat RUPA seems to be nailing these days. As the hype surrounding Instagram-friendly pop-up spaces doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon, it’s safe to assume that we’ll be seeing bigger and better visual-oriented pop-ups and museums on campus in the near future. 


Clarissa Gordon

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