Newsweek Feature: Girls Gone Ancient with Museum Hack

Museum Hack - Renegade Tours

Tags:

We’re thrilled to have our VIP bachelorette parties featured in this Newsweek magazine article in print and on-line.

>> Girls Gone Ancient with Museum Hack

A renegade tour company shows bachelorettes that drinking games and sexting are as old as museums

A little after 7 p.m. on a recent Friday, eight young women in cocktail dresses and heels strutted into New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Led by two tour guides, they made their way to the cloistered gallery of Northern European Decorative Arts, and the tapestried walls began to reverberate with giggles and click-clacking dress shoes.

Jessye Herrell, one of the leaders, herded the ladies toward a small, gilt statue of a half-naked woman on a horse. The women formed a semicircle around Herrell and fell silent.

“It’s Diana and the stag,” Herrell said of the statue, which is a little bigger than a drip coffee maker. “In the story, Diana is out bathing in the river, like you do when you’re a goddess. She’s the goddess of the hunt, and this guy, this hunter Actaeon, and his dog are out hunting, and he accidentally wanders over and sees Diana bathing, and she’s like, ’Yo, I’m a goddess, forget about it.’ And she’s so upset that she turns him into a stag.

“Sometimes, the hunter does become the hunted,” she said.

“This isn’t in here just because the story is full of wisdom,” Herrell continued. “It’s in here because this thing is a mother-effing 17th century robotic drinking game.”

“What? No way!” several of the revelers shouted amid oohs and aahs and gasps of laughter.

The horse, Herrell explained, has a hollow body and removable head that doubles as a drinking cup. Imbibers would wind the base, which has hidden wheels, sending the automaton across the bacchanal table. “If you’re the host of this party and it’s kind of lame and you need some social lubricant, you take this thing out and wind it up,” she added. “Rinse and repeat until you’re officially sloshed and your party is hoppin’.”

“How much you think they have to drink?” she then asked the group.

“The whole thing?” one worried-sounding woman said.

“The whole thing,” Herrell confirmed. “A lot of wine.”

“Where’s our drinking game?” one of the women asked.

Thus begins a bachelorette party with Museum Hack, which offers a self-proclaimed “highly interactive, subversive, fun, nontraditional museum tour” that isn’t officially affiliated with the Met or New York City’s Museum of Natural History, where the company also runs tours. Besides advertising museum tours for people who don’t like museums, the 3-year-old company offers special prenuptial programs.

Company founder Nick Gray, who calls himself a museum junkie, got the idea after giving his friends a tour of the Met to celebrate his 30th birthday. Though Gray does not have an art history background—his only formal training was a class in college called Management of Visual Arts—he said he taught himself about the Met’s artworks by visiting the museum more than 100 times.  

Back then, it was a “passion project,” not a business, Gray said, that he did for friends. But word soon spread to their friends that his tour was a bawdy and passionate celebration of the humanities (activities include a “fast-paced scavenger hunt” with a break for wine in the Petrié Court Cafe). After Daily Candy profiled Gray in 2013, more than 1,000 people requested tours via Facebook. Soon he was able to start charging for tours and quit his job at an aviation equipment company.

continue reading… Girls Gone Ancient with Museum Hack in Newsweek

Share this Article