New ‘selfie museums’ coming to the Charlotte area

DREAM Selfie Museum and Home of the '90s Museum are part of a growing trend.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, “selfie museums” want to provide the perfect backdrop. These attractions are becoming increasingly popular around the country, including in the Charlotte area. 

Last week, Charlotte welcomed its newest addition, DREAM Selfie Museum. Jeff and Madeline Carothers, a husband-and-wife duo and one-half of the team behind CLT Black Owned, opened the pop-up despite never having been to one themselves.

But what exactly is a selfie museum? 

“The best way to explain it is colorful, interactive and the perfect backdrop for photos, videos, content creation, things like that,” Madeline said. “Instead of going to a regular museum where you can take photos but you can’t interact with the exhibit, a selfie museum is the perfect place to create memories.”

To create a fully immersive experience, Madeline said they created a signature scent that guests experience when they walk through the door. Inside features 15 curated stations, like a wall of vinyl records or a backdrop mimicking clouds with a lightning effect.

Photo courtesy of DREAM Selfie Museum
Photo courtesy of DREAM Selfie Museum

“I love to tell people that nothing makes any sense,” she said. “When people ask, ‘Why did you choose this?’ There’s really not a reason. We just kind of let our creative juices flow, and we painted whatever we felt like painting at the time, and it came together perfectly.”

The couple will officially open DREAM to the public on June 16 through August. At that point, Madeline says they’ll determine whether to remain open. Visitors can book reservations online in 90-minute blocks for $19 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $25 Fridays through Sundays. DREAM Selfie Museum is located at 4212 Raleigh Street, near the Sugar Creek station for the LYNX Blue Line.  

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The rise of social media, especially Instagram, has fueled the desire for selfie museums, said Jessica Jones, co-owner of the Home of the ‘90s Museum

It joins other activations across the Carolinas. Rich Girls Museum has been a hit in Greensboro and “Immersion” has been a popular interactive experience in Columbia, South Carolina.

[Also read: Your guide to shops, eats and Black history in Columbia SC]

Jones and her business partner, Camille Stinson, will open the 4,000-square-foot selfie factory on July 3 in Concord. She first operated Home of the ‘90s inside her east Charlotte home. Jones had been laid off during the pandemic and rented out the home for private photoshoots and events as a source of income.

“Selfie museums offer the perfect place for a personal photoshoot for a fraction of the cost of hiring a photographer,” she said.

Once the demand started to outgrow the house, Stinson came on as a partner and they relocated to Concord at 404 Winecoff School Rd. 

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In the new space, customers can snap photos in 12 different rooms decorated with ‘90s pop culture references — from cartoons to famous athletes. There’s even a ball pit to bring back memories of popular birthday party places from the ’90s.

“The ‘90s was a time that was so colorful, vibrant and happy, and things were simple, so I wanted to revisit that,” Jones said. “It’s just a time that meant something to everyone, and everyone will want to be a part and see how it’s re-lived.”

To create unique murals and backdrops for the museum, Jones and Stinson collaborated with local artists such as Inigma, DeNeer Davis, and Tajmah Allison. (Inigma created the signature “Fresh Prince of Charlotte” mural, inspired by Will Smith’s sitcom, in the original location.) For the props and memorabilia, Jones said she watches Facebook Marketplace for items and accepts donations.

The museum will be open to the public Thursday through Sunday and available for private events Monday through Wednesday. Admission is based on timed entry, $30 for visitors 12 years and older and $20 for children ages 4 to 12. Children 3 and younger are free.

Artist Marcus Burke. Photo: QCity Metro
Artist Inigma working on a sports mural in the Home of the 90s Museum. Photo: QCity Metro
Artist Tajmah Allison completing work on a cartoon mural in the Home of the 90s Museum in Concord. Photo: QCity Metro

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