Museum of Failure to Open (Really)

Ponder some of the products that didn't quite hit at a new exhibit at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum.

What to Know

  • A+D Architecture and Design Museum
  • Saturday, Dec. 2 through Sunday, Feb. 4
  • $15 general admission

What we're about to say is factual, and there's no denying it, or scooting around the subject, or trying to make it seem like something it isn't: The Museum of Failure will likely be a big success.

Which is a complete oxymoron, and a kooky idea from Kookyland, and a brain-twisty notion that makes zero sense.

But when you open an institution devoted to real-life products that didn't quite hit the zenith the inventors had first imagined, and in fact were quite off the hoped-for mark, you're going to have a queue of lookie-loos who want to know a lot more.

Especially in a town like Los Angeles, which possesses a deep-rooted and complicated relationship to the idea of failure, like many places do, we suppose. But here in the land o' dreams, people tend to go big or splat hard when the desired brass ring isn't grabbed.

Celebrating the splats, and the moxie and innovation and gumption behind them, is at the heart of the Museum of Failure, which will debut for a two-month run on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at A+D Architecture and Design Museum in the Arts District.

Inside? Lots of got-kinda-closes and missed-by-a-miles, in terms of products, things, ideas, and concepts. There are over 100 failures in all on display, and if you think you might have seen this magical and inspirational spot while on a visit to Sweden, well, you're right: That's where the collection originated.

The Scene

Want to find new things to do in Los Angeles? The Scene's lifestyle stories have you covered. Here's your go-to source on where the fun is across SoCal and for the weekend.

Here's where to get free fries on National French Fry Day

A Prince Street Pizza pop-up will open in the shuttered Arby's Hollywood

The line-up of "history's epic fails" will include foodstuffs, furniture, medical instruments, and games from the last couple of centuries, though you can bet an emphasis will be placed on the outlandish output from more recent decades. Is the Apple Newton in the line-up? Affirmative.

The "experiential journey of failures-past," though, isn't an exercise in mocking, pointing, or schandenfreudery. If TED Talks and modern bestsellers are to be believed, failure is an essential part of success, the seemingly duller side of the shiny coin, an essential building block, not stumbling block, in creating those timeless products that catch the public's fancy and loyalty.

Dr. Samuel West, a researcher delving into corporate success and innovation, is the founder of the museum. And, of course, corporate success and innovation and what's-next-ism never bears fruit without a few twists, dips, really big dips, and ultimate turns along the way.

Which is the story of any life, really. We all know our share of great moments and "eh"-inducing experiences, after all.

And if you long to share your "eh" stories (and not your "A" stories) with the world, or at least other museum visitors, you can pay a visit to the Failure Confession Booth during your visit.

Pour out your heart, from the start. How did you trip up? What corners did you cut? How has your failure made you stronger? Lighten your burden. Help others with your tale. Help yourself. Help remove the stigma of failure, bit by bit.

"I started the Museum of Failure out of frustration — it's time we accept failure, learn from it, and truly achieve progress," says Dr. West. "I am thrilled to bring the hilarious, yet impactful memories of these colossal flops to Los Angeles."

Yes, the Museum of Failure will open, and very likely shine, in an un-fail-ish way, but do note: It will close, not ahead of its time, and not due to any failings, on Sunday, Feb. 4.

So be sure to purchase your ticket ahead of that date. A general admission is $15. 

Splatted recently? Everyone has been there. Learn more about others who've gone the same route, and feel emboldened to keep on keeping on. You've got this.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us