Fox Business News and Jo Ling Kent covers Museum Hack in this awesome feature profile from September 2013.
Melissa: It is time for Spare Change. We’ve got a little museum fun for you today, so, if you think museum tours are usually boring – I do – and leave you feeling fatigued, then you’ll be happy to hear about a museum hack. One creative entrepreneur in New York City is banking on his idea to turn anyone into an art lover, and our own Jo Ling Kent took a tour, check it out.
Jo Ling: Hey, Melissa, we’re inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art where one start-up, Museum Hack, is trying to change the way young people invest in art and consume it, we’re going to take a tour and show you how they’re doing it.
Museum Hack is trying to make the old world of art cool again, one tour at a time.
Museum Hack: My name is Mark, I’m very very excited…
Jo Ling: First the group gets to know each other, camp style.
Museum Hack: My power move used to be really like, aggressive, and I’ve changed it recently, I stole someone’s, so I might steal yours if it’s really good… I stole someone’s, it’s now making brownies on the phone, so that’s mine for this morning.
Jo Ling: I’m Jo, I am a correspondent for the Fox Business Network and I am passionate about journalism and figure skating and I think my move would be stick-the-landing!
Museum Hack: Okay.
Jo Ling: Then a fatigue-fighting huddle…
Jo Ling: …and we’re off!
For $39 a person, Rosen skips most of the main events to show off gems you might otherwise miss.
Museum Hack: Lesson One is that The Met is very, very old…
Jo Ling: …from the well-known hidden in a corner…
Museum Hack: This painting gives me a great opportunity to talk about Mona and why we all know her, but I think very few people, like, know why she’s so famous…
Jo Ling: …to the weird…
Museum Hack: With the daylight, people actually do ask me, “How do they stream it?” Completely faked, but beautifully faked, I think.
Jo Ling: We trek to places many frequent visitors don’t even know about. Rosen, who was trained in museum education says the company’s model is designed to redefine the traditional business of museums.
Museum Hack: I think it stemmed from like realizing that especially massive encyclopedic museums like this aren’t necessarily “cool” to young people or really interesting to them, so we figure, you know, this thing is so overwhelming, maybe this idea of hacking it and digging for things you normally wouldn’t see, getting people to behave in ways they normally wouldn’t behave, get them genuinely jazzed about this place…
Jo Ling: But why shell out nearly 40 bucks to a 5-month-old start-up when The Met itself offers free tours? Canadian tourist, Emily Sorley, says it’s about access.
Emily: I feel like I’m in the in-crowd, I feel like I’m getting the behind-the-scenes story on everything, and learning more than what I would have if I just sort of tried to walk myself around the museum, and yeah, it’s exciting, it’s high energy…
Jo Ling: High energy indeed! I wish I hadn’t worn heels! We walk more than a mile during the two-hour tour covering thousands of years of art.
And don’t worry about those old-school rules like no pictures or smart phones, Rosen wants you to integrate technology into the experience.
Museum Hack: If your real self does Instagram, your real self does hashtag, let’s do that, let’s play to that…
Jo Ling: With all these quirks and twists, business is booming for Museum Hack.
Museum Hack: Business is good! I’m sort of shocked that so many people are interested. We don’t have much of a problem with filling seats.
Jo Ling: And Museum Hack is plotting an expansion soon. They’ve got their eye on the dinosaurs at New York’s Museum of Natural History.
Melissa: Wow! Okay, so, my first question, you paid $40 to tour a free museum… How do you feel about that, was it worth it?
Jo Ling: That’s right, you know, at first I thought definitely not, and then after a while we really got into it we saw all kinds of things you’d never otherwise see – little teacups used by royalty, things that really flesh out big, big pieces like the classics.
Melissa: Yeah, I mean, because the museum can be totally overwhelming, and when you go on the bigger tours, you know, it’s very general, and it’s not as specific…
Jo Ling: You get lost… yeah.
Melissa: And I know they’re not the only company doing this, there are others out there doing this in Europe and elsewhere… What was your favorite part?
Jo Ling: I certainly thought it was interesting they showed us an easy chair with a chamber pot on the bottom of it, the first of it’s kind! You’d never see that!