Sometimes the only remedy to a hot and sticky summer day is an ice-cold scoop of ice cream—brain freeze and all. And soon New Yorkers won’t have to schlep in the heat to their local ice cream shop for a frozen fix. From July 29 through August 31, the new Museum of Ice Cream will serve scoops while offering an interactive glimpse into everyone’s favorite summer staple at its popup location in the city’s Meatpacking District.
Why a popup dedicated to ice cream as opposed to, say, pie or cupcakes? For starters, Americans can’t get enough of the frozen treat. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the average American gobbles some 22 pounds of ice cream each year. In 2014, U.S. ice cream companies churned more than 872 million gallons of the sweet stuff to satiate everyone’s cravings.
So what exactly can you expect from a installation dedicated to ice cream that opens 240 summers after ice cream debuted in NYC? Plenty, says Maryellis Bunn, the project’s cofounder. According to Bunn, the facility will include a swimming pool filled with rainbow sprinkles, edible balloons and even a Chocolate Chamber.
“Chocolate has pleasured our palates for thousands of years,” Bunn tells Smithsonian.com. “[The Chocolate Chamber] celebrates this love affair by bringing the sensual smell and luscious texture of chocolate to an epic scale. A sumptuous central fountain anchors the installation while walls drip with digital chocolate projections set to a unique score inspired by the grand wizard Willy Wonka.”
As if that weren’t decadent enough, the 3,000-square-foot installation will house a 363-cubic-foot swimming pool filled with rainbow sprinkles. Alas, they’re not the edible jimmies you’re familiar with from your childhood, but the enlarged faux sprinkles are still worthy of an Instagram post.
To make the museum a reality, Bunn joined forces with several ice-cream obsessed artists and designers from NYC and beyond, including Dr. Irwin Adam Eydelnant, principal and creative/scientific director of the Future Food Studio in Toronto, Canada. Tapping into his passion for ice cream and wealth of knowledge for food and science (he holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Toronto), Eydelant will create one-of-a-kind ice cream creations that visitors can enjoy at the end of their visit. He hopes they will walk away with both a full belly and a newfound appreciation for the link between taste and memory.
“Everyone has had an ice cream experience in their lives that brings back memories,” he tells Smithsonian.com. “I want visitors to explore what flavor is and how it works, and the relationship it has with memories.”
But arguably the best interactive experience that the installation offers is sampling scoops from local ice cream institutions like Blue Marble, Black Tap, OddFellows Ice Cream Co., and Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. After all, what’s an ice cream museum without a few scoops of the good stuff?
Want to get in on the icy action? You'll have to beg, borrow or steal—the museum's tickets are already sold out. (However, during Friday's grand opening, complimentary admission will be available on a first-come, first-served basis between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) Sign up for updates on the museum's website and follow its Instagram account; not only might new tickets become available, but the museum may pop up in other locations in the future. Translation: You may just get a scoop after all.