The Museum of Failure Fails Big

Museum of Failure | A+D Museum, 900 E 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 | Jan 1- Feb 4 | $15 | Closed Monday & Tuesday

This weekend I visited A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles for the Museum of Failure, a touring pop- up of the  Museum of Failure in Sweden.

Self- described as “a one of a kind international collection of more than 100 innovation failures,” the museum “explores these sometimes humorous misses, giving visitors a fascinating learning experience and insight into the risky business of innovation.”

The museum’s introduction says something about how failure is a key ingredient in innovation.

This is an important message, and one that millennials need to hear.  But that’s not what the museum was all about.

Many of the items failed because of bad marketing strategies or insufficient research.  The collection seemed to say, “if it doesn’t make money, it’s a failure.  Go kill yourself.”  I was hoping for more of an “if at first you don’t succeed, try again” theme.

The museum is a lazily curated collection of “wtf” items that would be equally satisfying as a Buzzfeed article.   You probably even know about most of them.  The Titanic.  The Segway.  Barnes & Noble Nook.  LaserDisc.  Google Glass.  The failures are grouped into categories, but not based on the *successful inventions they influenced, such as the 1994 VR goggles parlaying into Oculus Rift, or weird failed mp3 players paving the way for iPhone.  Sometimes, you can’t even see the failed products.  The Life Savers Rounds packaging didn’t even have Live Savers Rounds in it.  What landfill did they dig this out of?

Each item comes with a witty little description and a Fail- O- Meter, so we can laugh at the failures.  Like we already do.

The museum also has a Failure Confessional where participants can subject their own failures to public ridicule.  I liked that part-  everybody fails.  Although quite a few people listed “visiting the Museum of Failure” as a failure.

Some of the museum’s most popular failures include:

  • Trump Failures, including Trump Vodka, Trump Ice and a Trump Monopoly rip- off

  • A shareable Chinese sex doll with a  subscription service
  • Failed Oreo flavors, including Blueberry Pie and Candy Corn
  • Heinz EZ- squirt ketchup  (you probably bought this!)
  • AYDS appetite- suppressant candy; popular until HIV/AIDS epidemic
  • Colgate Lasagna

Some of the museum’s more disturbing failures include:

  • Cayla, the A.I. doll that spies on your household and sends information to marketing firms
  • Lobotomy
  • The Icelandic economy
  • A shareable Chinese sex doll with a  subscription service.  PS- Don’t touch this.  It’s extremely weird.

A +D also charged $15, plus service fees if you buy online.  Buying online has no advantage- the museum was overcrowded and unmanaged on a Saturday.  It’s also not an Instagram frenzy like the Museum of Ice Cream, although lots of people are posting pics with the sex doll.  Creepy.

Managing company  SEE Entertainment says the exhibit will tour the U.S. but has yet to announce dates.  It will remain in L.A. until February 4.  Closed Monday & Tuesday.

If all this sounds great, buy tickets here.






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