A Fun Philadelphia Museum Concept
By Heather Dale
Located in the heart of Old City, Philadelphia, a magical place called the Museum of Illusions Philadelphia (MOI) invites you to question your perceptions of reality. What’s real, and what has the mind altered to see something that’s not there? That is for you to decide as your group immerses in transformative exhibits that challenge your brain, eyes and perspective.
MOI celebrated its one-year birthday in March of 2023. The concept for the museum started in Croatia in 2015 and was eventually franchised in more than 35 cities globally, including Milan, New Delhi, Chicago, New York, Houston and Miami. It was Philly’s time to bring illusory magic to their neighborhood. Opened to the public in March of 2022, the Museum of Illusions Philadelphia offers a unique experience to learn about the concepts of optical, spatial and classic illusions with behind-the-scenes advantages. Friendly and knowledgeable staff help visitors with questions about the more than 60 visual and educational displays and how they work.
Museum of Illusions Philadelphia Birthday Celebration
According to Philadelphia native and founder of LOL Entertainment, the parent company of MOI, Rob Cooper, “We had a terrific turnout during our first year in Philadelphia.” He adds, “We are so very grateful for the thousands of visitors who have come to experience our illusions first-hand, and we look forward to providing an engaging, educational, and above all, fun experience for many, many more in the coming years.”
Snap Pictures to Reveal Exhilarating Tricks of the Eye
Ask the staff for tips on capturing the best Instagram-worthy photos, mainly because most of these illusions only work in this way at the Museum of Illusions Philadelphia.
The Ames Room gives the illusion that a person on one side of the room is much smaller or larger than their companion on the other side. This illusion was developed by an American ophthalmologist and psychologist, Adelbert Ames, and is a classic example of a depth perception optical illusion.
Another example can be found at the Beuchet Chair, an exhibit that gives the impression that the person standing behind the chair is a giant towering over the smaller seated person. The creator of this illusion is French psychologist Jean Beuchet; hers is a well-known favorite.
Have your group pose in the Antigravity Room, where the laws of physics are debated. A 90-degree angle gives the impression that everyone is hanging upside down!
Have an out-of-body experience at the Head on the Platter exhibit showcasing the tricks of a hidden body using mirrors.
No Camera Needed to See These Illusions in Philadelphia
Learn the evolution of holograms, the pairing of a photograph and a 3D image, and witness some of the best holograms in the world. You have to see them to believe them.
Test your eyes and mind along the hall of Optical Illusions. Each installation challenges you to see things differently, revealing a little about how the human brain interprets reality.
Tease your brain in the Infinity Room, where mirrors surround you transforming the place into infinite space.
Learning is Immersive at the Museum of Illusions
Thought of as a “one-of-a-kind edutainment destination,” the Philadelphia museum believes that learning should be fun and proves that it can be. Visitors will ascertain how the illusions work, specifically the mechanics behind them, like a magician revealing their magic trick secrets.
Melding visual and spatial illusions with education about the process allows for a deeper understanding of how the mind can be manipulated. Learn the mechanics of viewing with binocular vision (viewed with both eyes) and monocular vision (viewed through a single camera lens) and how both can morph perception.
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