Museum of Failure pop-up proves failure can lead to success

Museum of Failure pop-up proves failure can lead to success
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Colgate Beef Lasagna? New Coke? The Atari E.T. game? The Museum of Failure in Brooklyn celebrates spectacular failures -- and it's been a smashing success. We take you there and show you why the museum is winning over hearts.

SUNSET PARK, BROOKLYN -- We love to celebrate our successes - our failures, not so much.

Yet consider this: the Museum of Failure in Brooklyn has become, well, a "Museum of Success," winning the hearts of visitors and proving that some of society's biggest misses -- collected together -- can make for a sensational exhibit.

Founded by clinical psychologist Dr. Samuel West, the Museum of Failure is a collection of failed innovations from around the world.

His doctorate in organizational psychology led to his obsession with learning from failures, and his collection of failed products quickly started to come together.

So the next logical step was for him to curate the pop-up Museum of Failure, whose run in Industry City in Brooklyn has been extended through June 18.

"The idea really is to spark that conversation about failure; to use it as a platform for learning and for growth," explains exhibit director Johanna Guttmann.

The exhibit features products from various industries, such as tech and gaming, health care, food, toys, and transportation. There's even a mature adult section.

"I think we need to destigmatize failure universally, as long as the failure is done in the name of progress," said West.

From products like the Hula Chair, where you can't help but laugh while whoever sits in it whirls around uncontrollably, to health-care fails that will undoubtedly make you think, to Colgate's attempt at making beef lasagna, the exhibit prompts conversations about these failures, as well as self-reflection.

One of the many highlights of the museum is the "Share Your Failure" confessional wall, where visitors can confess their failures on a sticky note and place it on the wall.

"It really tells me the message is resonating with people on a very personal level," said Guttmann.

Said West: "Some are silly. Some are sad. Some will just cause you to think a little bit. Mine is up there too."

West hopes that visitors are not only entertained but that they leave understanding how to better learn from failure and that they need to accept failure if they want innovation and progress.

"I'm hoping that people are more open to failure; that they are willing to take meaningful risks so that they can be personally successful and that we can also be successful on a larger macro level," said Guttmann.