Atlantic Station will be home to Museum of Illusions

There are more than 35 Museum of Illusions worldwide. Atlanta will be the latest to get one. PUBLICITY PHOTO

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There are more than 35 Museum of Illusions worldwide. Atlanta will be the latest to get one. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Started in 2015, there are now 37 of them worldwide in 25 countries.

Another permanent museum is coming to Atlanta, but this one is not focused on art, history or a big-name corporate brand: it’s called Museum of Illusions and is set to open later this year at Atlantic Station in Midtown.

The museum will feature optical and spatial illusions specifically created to mess with the mind. It’s part science, part Instagrammable entertainment.

Some of the set pieces have popped up in other science museums over the years such as the Ames Room, in which the room is distorted in such a way that at a particular angle one person looks much larger than the other. Similarly, there’s the Beuchet Chair, where a person standing appears to tower over a seated person.

“Some of these things are derived from math,” said Atlanta-based chief executive Jonathan Benjamin, “some from ancient diagrams. We have grown up looking at Dali and Escher art. But this is all very hands on. It’s something for all ages.”

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Museum of Illusions features an Ames room, which distorts the visuals to make it appear people are far taller or shorter than they really are in relation to each other. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Credit: PUBLICITY PHOTO

Museum of Illusions features an Ames room, which distorts the visuals to make it appear people are far taller or shorter than they really are in relation to each other. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Credit: PUBLICITY PHOTO

Combined ShapeCaption
Museum of Illusions features an Ames room, which distorts the visuals to make it appear people are far taller or shorter than they really are in relation to each other. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Credit: PUBLICITY PHOTO

Credit: PUBLICITY PHOTO

Benjamin said there are many common exhibits among different versions of the museum “that are universal in their appeal,” he said. “But we also try to bring in locally themed design exhibits. We sometimes have live performances that we’ll try to get from the local community as well.”

He said the core audience is 18 to 34, but a wide range of people do show up.

There are now 37 of these museums in 25 countries worldwide. Domestically, there are Museums of Illusions in Chicago; Dallas; New York; Orlando, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; and Philadelphia. Other planned cities include Washington, D.C.; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Benjamin said he hasn’t finalized the admissions prices at the Atlanta location. They range from $15 (Kansas City) to $24.99 (Orlando). The experience should take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.

The first Museum of Illusions opened in Croatia in 2015. Benjamin took over the company last October and plans to move the headquarters to Atlanta and hire locally. He also facilitated the creation of a museum in Atlanta.

“It’s a global destination with a lot of international appeal,” Benjamin said. And Atlantic Station is a “central location with adequate parking.”

The space he found at Atlantic Station will cover about 10,000 square feet.

He hopes to open the Atlanta museum between Thanksgiving and Christmas. “We’re in permitting mode,” he said. “We’ve got a little demolition that needs to be done before we can actually do build out. We’re getting plenty of support and enthusiasm from the landlord.”

Atlantic Station retail director Starr Cumming said this is a long-term play. Benjamin signed a 10-year lease.

When she heard about the museum’s interest in space at Atlantic Station, she and some of her younger colleagues checked out the Orlando museum. “We thought it was a great tourist attraction,” she said.

Atlantic Station has previously had the “Bodies” science exhibit for many years and hosts annual events like Cirque du Soleil and the Truist Atlanta Open tennis tournament.

“On weekdays, school buses rolled into the ‘Bodies’ exhibit. The Museum of Illusions will have a similar program,” Cumming said.

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A version of the Museum of Illusions will open at Atlantic Station later this year. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Credit: PUBLICITY PHOTO

A version of the Museum of Illusions will open at Atlantic Station later this year. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Credit: PUBLICITY PHOTO

Combined ShapeCaption
A version of the Museum of Illusions will open at Atlantic Station later this year. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Credit: PUBLICITY PHOTO

Credit: PUBLICITY PHOTO