The Museum of Illusions Takes a Deep Look at Optical Tricks

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on January 5, 2024.

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The Museum of Illusions is an international museum chain that shares some of the world's best optical illusions for guests to experience in person.

Although we are not terribly fond of chain museums, we have to admit we were intrigued by this one because who doesn't love a good optical illusion?

While this one most certainly has its target market, particularly those new to optical illusions outright, there is a lot to see in this museum on the North Shore for all visitors!

What Optical Illusions Does the Museum of Illusions Feature?

Wall Art Illusions at the Museum of Illusions

At its core, the Museum of Illusions is designed to take a robust look at all things optical illusions. The designs here run the spectrum from hanging wall art to interactive exhibits, life-size immersive designs that run floor-to-ceiling, and more.

At one installation, you may be looking at wall art that plays tricks on your eyes and looks like it is moving, others that impart a ghost image on your retina if you stare at it too long, or some that appear to morph into something new as you change your vantage point.

Immersive Art

Elsewhere in the museum, you may walk inside a funhouse-like tube that rotates and makes you feel like you're rotating with it (not for those with motion sickness!), exhibits that morph your sense of spatial awareness for fun optical trickery, and the use of colors in novel fashions to name a few.

Many are designed to be interactive and, more importantly, photo-friendly, so you can take shots that put you as part of the illusion like you're falling off a building, having a partner appear taller or smaller than you, and the like. In fact, although there are staff members around that could help and assist with some photos, this is one of those museums that is better to go with a friend, spouse, or small group solely because the interactive exhibits are much more enjoyable with others.

Perspective Plays

That said, while the museum takes a robust look at all things optical illusions, it is somewhat small, and we were in and out in about 30 minutes. Others, particularly those who are new to illusions, are a better target market for this one than we are, and will likely get far more value out of the ticket for a few key reasons that we will discuss next!

A Museum for Those New to Illusions

Interactive Illusions- Falling Off a Building

We have to admit, we are torn on our thoughts on the Museum of Illusions, and this is perhaps because of one very important point- we've seen most of the illusions before.

Over the years, we've seen many optical illusions at galleries and shared countless times on social media. Most, but not all, of the wall art at the Museum of Illusions featured designs we have seen in the past- often many times over. 

The museum does a fantastic job of having descriptions to go along with each illusion, often explaining the origin of the illusion and how it works. These were fascinating reads and provided more depth into the art we are seeing one more time.

Where the Museum of Illusions thrived for our particular interests were in the interactive illusions. The life-size, immersive illusions that need to be seen in person to appreciate the scale were our favorite elements of the museum. These are also the kind of illusions that photos (and videos, for that matter) simply cannot give justice and is a major selling point of the museum proper.

Optical Illusion Art

That said, there is one type of patron that this museum is perfect for- those who may be new to optical illusions entirely. Kids are right up there at the very top of that list.

When walking around the museum, we witnessed the enthusiasm of kids experiencing optical illusions, often for the very first time, and saw the joy that many of the exhibits brought them, even if some of it was lost on us for not being our first time seeing them. Truly, the allure of optical illusions is the novelty of them being new to you, and only select visitors may fall into that box.

We were not, but where you fall could vary considerably here!

Light Play at the Museum of Illusions Pittsburgh

Overall, even though we probably did not get the most out of our visit to the Museum of Illusions compared to other patrons, we are really glad to have this one here on the North Shore and are excited for all those who may be newer to this style of art to get an appreciation for it here!

The Museum of Illusions is located at 267 N Shore Drive in the North Side.

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