You can’t judge a museum by its size. That’s the major takeaway from Mmuseumm, a one-room Tribeca organization devoted to highlighting the extraordinary truths of ordinary objects. The name itself stems from the notion that, yes, this is a museum, but unlike any other museum you’ve been to.
That’s because entrepreneur and founder, Alex Kalman, thinks even the most familiar of objects— plastic coffee lids or fast food packaging —has a story to tell. “It’s trying to look at humanity through objects,” says Kalman. “We use objects as mirrors to society.”
Who says a museum needs lots of galleries? Photo by @tysonk.
This unique cultural experience transforms overlooked micro-spaces, like a freight elevator or alleyway, into mini-museum popups with series of carefully selected quotidian objects behind glass. A look into “object journalism,” these curated displays of everyday belongings explore current events, the modern world, and humanity. But more than just an allegory into the world, Mmuseumm gives a sneak peak into the minds of others through the lense of seemingly unremarkable objects or patterns—like indexed Cornflakes
The pint-size museum showcases its collections to demonstrate their quirky, meaningful, and familiar aspects. To maximize its space, Mmuseumm exhibitions rotate frequently. Expect shows from the likes of Erneseto Oroza, a Cuban artist and designer who details how everyday objects are repurposed for multiple uses in Cuba (a cut Coca Cola bottle becomes a wine glass, for example). Other artists have included Kalman’s mother, Maira, who recreated her own mother’s extremely tidy West village closet, complete with cable-knit sweaters and lace-up shoes in this former exhibit, which transferred to the Met Museum last spring. This fastidiously organized closet isn’t just a mere replica in its intention —it represents the “universal need to create order,” according to Kalman.
The recreated closet of Alex Kalman’s grandmother, recently on view at The Met after premiering at the Mmuseum. Photo by @metmuseum.
A few not-to-miss current exhibits include:
- Insect Chic: How businesses package, brand, and market edible insects for mainstream audiences (like cricket pasta and earthworm jerky).
- Modern Religion: Religious objects that have adapted to fit the modern world, like a gluten-free Holy Communion wafer
- Why so Cheap?: Explores why certain items sold discounted or free are deemed less valuable.
Mmuseumm is in its 5th year in the diminutive “Mmuseumm Alley,” located at 4 Cortlandt Alley in Tribeca. It’s super easy to visit too—just a $5 suggested donation for visitors and visible 24/7 through viewing windows and calling into the audio guide.