You usually don’t find yourself asking whether or not you should burn, steal or buy a piece of modern art on a visit to the Art Institute.
And you definitely aren’t encouraged to flick off a Pablo Picasso painting, no matter how much he deserves it.
But that’s all about to change when you go on a modern and offbeat tour with Museum Hack, a self-described “renegade museum tour guide service,” that puts the fun back into museums.
One of the first things my renegade tour guide Elise asked was when I last visited a museum.
“When I went on a school field trip a few years ago,” I told her recalling my time at Columbia College Chicago.
To be honest, at that time, I cared more about getting out of class for the afternoon than I did learning about art.
And that seems to be a common thread among millennials.
That’s where Museum Hack comes in.
The first tour began in 2013 in New York and has since expanded into six U.S cities, Chicago being one of them.
Founder Nick Gray’s OG mission was to engage millennials who would otherwise never step foot into a museum, aside from those field-trips.
That’s why the company’s motto: museums are f**king awesome, is so straightforward.
They want to offer up a more engaging adventure for a new generation who will emerge as art lovers who think its “f**king awesome.”
And that all starts with the tour guides.
Aside from their genuine love for museums, these guides go through extensive training before embarking on their first mission. I’m not joking when I say they really know their art history – the backstory of the artists, who they were, what they were into, and who they were sleeping with.
Before each tour, the guide is tasked with finding the most interesting and unique facts, racy stories and dark secrets you otherwise wouldn’t get from reading those little plaques.
It’s like E! News but back in the day.
Mainly, the goal is to avoid museum fatigue – which is a real thing – and trust me, despite the tour being 2-hours, you didn’t even feel it.
During our tour, specifically, we were joined by a surprise guest: the fabulous Wanda Screw.
This queen is about to be in drag for 12 hours. How does she look? #dragqueen #makeup #muotd #fotd #beauty #glam #wig #instahair #bighairdontcare #instagay #gay #rpdr #dragrace #mua #clown #chicagodrag #chicago #fashion #designer #fashiondesigner #lipstick #lashes #sugarpill #jeffreestarcosmetics #clubkid #halloween #museums #spooky #goth
Wanda Screw, a drag queen in Chicago, led us on a ‘tour within a tour’ of various drag and LGBTQ inspired pieces.
Have you ever walked through a museum with a drag queen rocking a huge foamy fro? You come to admire the art but suddenly, you are the art.
It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Wanda attracted a slew of museum-goers who were eager to hear her stories but since they didn’t pay for the tour, we had to leave them behind.
Part of what makes the tour so unique is that it changes the way you engage with the art and behave in a museum, specifically through games and situations.
One of those games: think of our drag names and then walk down a runway channeling an animal assigned to us by Wanda.
*Walk, strike a pose, see a whole museum of people jealous that they aren’t on your tour.*
You were also encouraged to become one with the art; to find a piece that really spoke to you and channel it.
We were left with this little keepsake at the end of it all – we’re flawless and fierce right?!
If you want to expierence the Art Institute in all its glory with some upbeat tour guides who have enough quirky info to entertain a diverse range of ages, you need to give this a whirl.
Even if you’ve been to the Art Institute before – I’m sure you haven’t seen it is quite like this.
Museum Hack has really hacked into something that the millennial generation can get behind.
If you’re interested, check out their website HERE! They offer a wide-range of tours from private experiences to team-building to bachelorette parties.