The Museum of Illusions

By Michelle Martinez

The Museum of Illusion offers a variety of exhibits featuring optical illusions and holograms. There is an Anti-Gravity Room, where deceptive floor construction makes it appear that you are defying gravity, an Ames Room, where two people of the same height appear dramatically different sizes and a Rotated Room where it seems you are walking on the ceiling. Other exhibits include a Beuchet Chair Illusion, a Bottomless Pit, and a mirrored Infinity Room that creates the perception of infinite space.

Entering the museum, not everything is what it seems. At an angle, a frame could seem to be just a blank canvas but when moving past it could turn into a beautiful image of a deer. You walk into a room and see yourself staring back. You go into another room with your friend or family and see that one of you have become significantly shorter.

The first Museum of Illusions opened in 2015 in Zagreb, Croatia. Later several locations launched around the world with the museum in New York opening in 2018. Each room has a brief history of the illusion and how they are made.

Brianna Shaw, 21, who visited the museum for the first time in March. “It was very trippy because it put your mind to the test,” said Shaw.  In fact, the museum creators say they aim to “delight your little grey cells” and provide “games which will break your brain but simultaneously make you smarter.” They explain that the exhibits illustrate how our senses are imperfect and subject to manipulation. Exhibits such as the Beuchet Chair Illusion trick the brains of the viewers by using the context, or size of objects around them. Holograms are 3-D illusions.

In the Bottomless Pit, you see a circular shape on the floor which at a distance looks to be a platform. However, when you get closer, you see a bottomless hole with lights on either side that seem to stretch forever.

In the Head on a Platter exhibit, your body disappears and your head becomes lunch.

In the Following Eye, the illusion works because you view concave eyes as convex eyes. Stare at them and move and they follow you.

This Einstein exhibit follows visitors around the room.

The New York Museum of Illusion is located at 77 Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. Tickets are $24 for adults and $20 for children 2-13.

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