The Museum of Ice-Cream: Should Dentists Be Appalled?

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The Museum of Ice-Cream: Should Dentists Be Appalled?

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  3. General Examination and Hygiene Articles
  4. The Museum of Ice-Cream: Should Dentists Be Appalled?
The Museum of Ice-Cream_ Should Dentists Be Appalled_In Sunbury At Sunbury Dental House

Before the advent of ice cream museums, there were already 55,000 museums in the world, spread across two hundred countries. Unsurprisingly, more than 35,000 are in the US.

So many. Why do they matter?

Museums incite curiosity. The fundamental human drive to understand what we know that we do not. Think of the late US Secretary of Defense (sic), Donald Rumsfeld. Few would remember him so clearly were it not for his (in)famous “Unknown Knowns” response to evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

It was enough to inspire Australian funk jazz band Junglehammer to release ‘Desert Rain’ in 2004 – a magnificent 3 minute, 22 second track of this quote verbatim; indeed a musician’s corner museum of Rumsfeld’s 2002 matrix.

Museums are houses of the holy oddities: of who we were, and how we came to be here. With that being so, the Museum of Ice Cream could be the 2080 repository for the unhalted history of holey teeth and the depository of diabetes.

Art is the story. It traces that common history. It is only if we understand, and value protecting where we have come from, will we ever know where we are going.

As a sensing, thinking, creative species, images matter. The $US35 billion-dollar cosmetic industry tells us that.

In this world of digital technology so advanced, anyone with wi-fi can access millions of images and incredible amounts of information. We have platforms like Google’s Museum Project, where almost any museum – be it in Vienna, or Tokyo; New York or Madrid – can be toured in real time. While theatre and concert-goers are dwindling, museum attendance increased by 50% over a decade.

We like to sense the stuff museums hold for us, rather than just see it. And we’ve done it like that for the last two hundred years.

Except for when it comes to the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC). We’ve only been doing that since 2016. The same year liquid silver diamine fluoride (SDF) became a more widely available treatment for the prevention of cavities.

The British Museum and Berlin’s Atlas Museum are secular temples of experience. Only when we stand in front of something created hundreds, or thousands of years before are we able to truly ponder who we are, where we come from, and where we’re headed. It’s what happens when we’re in close proximity of history’s handled items.

They can be uncovered moments of the mundane – a Greek urn, an Egyptian sandal, a Roman coin – some proof of milieu; immediately delivering us our own imaginings. Where and why it was created; who held, hoarded or harboured it, and how long it took for it to end up right there before us.

All of it, currency: bringing vague to visceral.

Mappa Mundi, the compendium of all the geographical knowledge of its time and arguably the greatest mediaeval map of the world, and bigger than a king size bed when not on exhibit loan, sits in its own room in the Library of St Mark’s in Venice. Handcrafted by15th century monk Fra Mauro of the Camaldolese order, having never set foot outside the small island in the Venetian lagoon where he lived, it is his scientific approach to cartography that had him not include the heaven and hell that were so unmissable in the Hereford Mappa Mundi of the 1300s.

Although Mauro does incorporate some biblical references, he breaks with tradition by not having Jerusalem as the centre of the world. Accuracy elbows religious beliefs from the foreground for Fra Mauro to bring us our first map devoid of its overriding propaganda.

Already we were moved; and we keep moving.

Fra Mauro declared in his inscriptions that he would, “…verify the text by practical experience, investigating for many years and frequenting personas worthy of faith who have seen with their own eyes what I faithfully report here.”

What he faithfully reports is astounding in its absolute splendour.

Mappa Mundi is a magnificent painting, predominant in gold and blue and red, outlining continents and countries with 3,000 annotations. Legends, stories and anecdotes explicate minute drawings of sea creatures and monsters, sailing ships and rolling waves; along with thousands of place names, detailed palaces, bridges, churches, prisons and all that summarises the Mediterranean – and Asia for the first time.

Japan and Java are clearly depicted. Madagascar is labelled ‘Diab’ and a tiny, tiny inscription says, “Here begins the Dark Sea” a reference to the beyond – that being across the Indian Ocean that was yet to be explored.

In these few words of his cartographic imaginings, Fra Mauro lets us see that he already anticipates a future: for there is no America and no Australia on his map. For although at that point we had moved from the spiritual to the physical, we hadn’t moved as far as we eventually would.

Such was the world of the 1400s. Oral health wasn’t great but the artwork was breathtaking.

For this monk, a layperson who worked in the monastery for around fifty years to have produced something as extraordinarily beautiful and so incredibly significant, very little is known about him. We do know that he created it between 1448 and 1453, and that it marks the transition from end of the mediaeval period and the beginning of the Renaissance.

If the Museum of Ice Cream signifies a revival, its temple experience is the massage point for an ice cream headache. There, whether it be in New York, Austin, Chicago, Miami, Boston or Singapore, we don’t stand in front of something that was created hundreds or thousands of years before; we immerse ourselves in hundreds and thousands in its iconic sprinkle pool. MOIC’s interactive ‘playscapes’ number at least fourteen.

Sounds like a lot until you realise that there are more than a thousand ice cream flavours; and the Louvre in Paris has 400 ‘playscapes’ only since you can’t touch anything or eat anything, they’re called ‘rooms’.

Admittedly, it’s been here for 224 more years. And if you’re more passionate about Milo than Venus de Milo, and your psyche is more revived by a Hershey’s kiss than Canova’s Cupid’s one, then there’s a lick of info not worth a lick.

The Museum of Ice-Cream_ Should Dentists Be Appalled_At Sunbury In Sunbury Dental House

What do the Museums of Ice Cream tell us about what went before, and where it all leads?

Co-founded by Americans Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora, MOIC tells us that having worked for Time, Inc and Facebook is useful when teaming up with a former investment banker and one-time CEO of Lightbox. It tells us that it’s possible to pair American retail with the (anti)tradition of museums; and that (in this world of overindulgence) interactive, multi-sensory exhibits need to include tasty treats.

A sound bite would tell us that you can go from Wall Street to Streets.

Eight years ago MOIC popped up as a pop-up and is now valued at $US200 million. Its parent company owned by Maryellis Bunn, is named ‘Figure8’. Go figure the amount it ate to be worth as much as that.

Manish Vora’s Ice Cream Name is ‘Flava Flav’. Every one of the three million visitors to MOIC has one; and it’s possibly the kid-friendly version of a porno name. Its a moniker that manifests when a favourite ice cream memory from childhood is recalled under the guileless guidance of a MOIC guide.

We like being taken back to where we came from. Either for comfort, or because we’re amazed by how far we’ve come.

MOIC’s mission is to unite and inspire the world through imagination. Which is what museums do; without unlimited access to 5 treat stations. It has ‘no phone days’ although it’s been frequented by almost half of the world’s biggest social media influencers. The likes of Beyoncé, Katy Perry, David Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have savoured its ‘experium’. (A portmanteau not of ‘expensive’ and ‘delirium’, but ‘experience’ and ‘museum’.)

No mention of Edward Witton, Saul Kripke, Christopher Hirata or Terence Tao turning up. But who are they anyway …?

The Museum of Ice Cream is a sensate, social media sensation that claims to want us to get our phones out of hands for a cone or a spoon to take its place, and in a rather different way than in the 1980s.

All good; except your phone is where your $US45 ticket is, and much like the unheard sound of a tree falling in a forest, does anything happen in 2024 if it can’t be Tik’d, tagged or X-tweeted?

How do you JOMO the FOMO if MOIC’s team-building collapses?

The Museum of Ice Cream is an anti-museum in the way that everything you can’t do in a museum you can most certainly do there. Its very first site was intentionally and directly across the road from New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, where the greatest collection of 20th century American art in the world is on display.

MOIC’s motivation was to have parents not be able to escape what is directly opposite – both literally and figuratively – and give in to their eye-rolling, this-art-stuff’s-so-boring kids.

Why speak of the amazing process of Jay DeFeo’s 3-metre, one tonne artwork The Rose, when Very Berry Strawberry requires no logical explanation as to the crushed, sugared pop tarts inside?

Why sit on the Whitney’s southwest corner steps watching a slow sunset over the Hudson river, when you can scoff a surcharge sundae in a Pepto-Bismol pink room across the road? Is there any point knowing that Jean-Paul Sartre said of Calder’s Circus, “The forces at work are too numerous and complicated for any human mind, even that of their creator, to be able to foresee all their combinations.”

Where are we, and where are we headed if scoops and splits, Kim Carbdashian, hot dogs made of ice cream, and a million disposable napkins a month represent the scope of curiosity and imagination we’re serving up for ourselves and our kids? Should dentists be appalled?

We all should be.

Note: All content and media on the  Sunbury Dental House website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

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