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.”
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.
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.