HATTIESBURG — A unique attraction at Turtle Creek Mall offers Hattiesburg residents the chance to up their social media game.
The city’s first “selfie museum” — Hattiesburg Selfie Room — provides dozens of interactive art installations to pose in, complete with customizable ring lights and dressing rooms.
“It’s just a fun experience,” owner Laneka Chaney said. “We provide the photo backdrops, but you get to use your own creativity and make it your own experience.”
Hattiesburg Selfie Room is one of several selfie museums that have popped up around the state, including in Ridgeland, Tupelo, Columbus and Flowood.
Though the concept may not be a typical museum — favoring interactive installations over paintings and artifacts — it is increasing in popularity across the country.
Still, Chaney was hesitant to open the business because many people are not familiar with the concept.
“I would say the most unique challenge with this business is that it’s not very well-known, so you have to kind of sell it to people that really don’t know exactly what it is,” she said.
After a lot of research — and taking inspiration from other selfie museums, including the Original Selfie Museum in Atlanta — Chaney took the leap, and built the selfie museum installations with her family.
Installations include a diner set, a wall of flowers, a giant takeout box that customers can pose in, a giant popcorn box, a safari scene and a luxurious bathtub. The business accepts both reservations and walk-ins if there is availability. The number of customers allowed inside at once is limited.
After a limited opening right before Christmas, the business held its grand opening just before Valentine’s Day.
“Initially people were kind of curious,” Chaney said. “A lot of people did not know what a selfie museum was, so since … we have been educating people on what exactly a selfie museum is, how it works.”
Carole Mink visited the selfie museum recently with her daughters Makayla, 13, and Isleen, 11.
“I’ve seen these in other cities, but this is the first one I’ve seen around this area. I like to do things, but I don’t like to drive very very far, so with it being close it’s cool,” Mink said.
The trio snapped photos at a display featuring vintage telephones and the wall of flowers and tossed yellow plastic balls in the air in the giant popcorn box to get action shots. Minks’ girls agreed that they love taking selfies and doing photoshoots.
Lisa Chaney, who helps run the business with her sister, said the reception has been positive, and the grand opening was their busiest weekend yet.
“We were learning as we were going. No hiccups yet,” she said.
Laneka Chaney said Hattiesburg Selfie Room has seen models and TikTok users making use of the attraction’s installations, which range from a giant Barbie box to a classroom setting.
“I would say it’s a unique experience because it’s a way for someone to come in and display their creativity or it’s just a different way of having fun, whether it be with your family or a date night or with your friends, yourself,” Chaney said.
Admission provides one hour in the selfie room. Customers are allowed to bring their own photographer, and photographers can book the selfie museum to take photos of clients. Admission is free for those under 3, $15 for those 4-12 and $20 for those 13 and older.
Reservations can be made online at hattiesburgselfieroom.com.
Hattiesburg Selfie Room is open 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and for private events only Monday through Wednesday.