When you think about the biggest museums in the world, the Louvre in Paris and our very own Metropolitan museum here, in New York, probably come to mind. But have you ever wondered what’s the smallest museum in the world? Well, apparently it’s in England, and it’s just a disused telephone box in West Yorkshire.
But if you want to take a look at another strange location for a museum, you should go check out Mmuseumm, New York City’s smallest museum, conveniently located in a freight elevator on the side of a dirty alley in Lower Manhattan, around Chinatown and SoHo.
Mmuseumm is only available for the public on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6pm, when you can actually enter the elevator —which only has space for around 3 or 4 persons at a time— and explore their peculiar collections.
They feature everyday objects that are often “overlooked, dismissed, or ignored” but that are nonetheless intriguing and worth exploring. Mmuseumm has permanent and rotating exhibitions, and when I visited a particularly interesting one was “The Last Message Received,” a collection of text-message screenshots showcasing the last words someone exchanged with a loved one. Some were funny, some were serious, but all of them were remarkable in showing how sudden and final the end of communication can be, even when expected.
Another great mini-exhibition was “Personal Items of Immigration,” showing objects left behind by immigrants crossing the Arizona border, such as a toothbrush and a stuffed bunny.
Some of the unusual objects found in Mmuseumm’s permanent collection are the shoe thrown at George W. Bush at the Minister’s Palace in Baghdad, a hot water coil heater from Lithuania, and a plastic glove from Paradise Valley, Montana.
If you can’t make it to the tiny elevator but still want to hear all about the unremarkable yet fascinating things that make human existence what it is, you can make a free call to +1 (888) 763-8839 to learn about the objects exhibited.
Mmuseumm’s 2017 exhibitions opened up this past May 11. If you enjoy new forms of documenting, journalism and are fond of small spaces, you will surely enjoy it.
Mmuseumm 1 & Mmuseumm 2 are located at 4 Cortlandt Alley in lower Manhattan, New York City.