Lonely Planet Writer

Sweden's Museum of Failure is now open in LA for a limited time

Why it may seem cruel to bask in other people’s failures, Sweden’s Museum of Failure encourages visitors to do just that – and now the experience has arrived in Los Angeles.

Learn about other people’s failures at the museum. Image by Penguin Vision Photography

The museum opened earlier this year in Helsingborg, Sweden, celebrating products from around the world that failed spectacularly. If you’re wondering what constitutes a museum-worthy failure, think pink pens designed especially for women, lasagne courtesy of toothpaste company Colgate, Harley Davidson cologne and many more.

Now, these near-forgotten treasures are on display at the A + D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles as the exhibition begins a tour. The museum was created by Samuel West, a clinical psychologist who felt that society is very obsessed with success, and could do with contemplating failure and its role in innovation. He previously told Lonely Planet News: “we are living in a success-obsessed culture. But failure is what we learn from and it is failure that helps us to develop.” The museum brings together more than 100 innovation failures from around the world to show just how it’s done.

Learn about failure – and its role in nnovation – at the museum. Image by Fredrik Segerfalk

The exhibit is open in LA until 4 February and there are plans for a world tour, including a pop-up stop at Art Basel Miami from 7 to 10 December. The Swedish exhibition will reopen in April at Dunkers Kulturhus on Helsingborg’s waterfront.

This isn’t the first quirky museum to come to LA. Last year, the city saw the first offshoot of the Croatian Museum of Broken Relationships open. The museum contained artefacts donated anonymously, each with a story of how it relates to a broken relationship. It has recently closed but is looking for a new location in the city.  On a more cheerful note, a new pop-up exhibit called Happy Place is bringing all things cheerful to one spot. Though it’s not quite a museum, it does offer life-size installations and immersive rooms and will be open until 7 January.