The Art of Failure

Society loves to focus on success stories. We like to hear about the entrepreneurs who have created amazing things and about those who have conquered seemingly unsurmountable obstacles. What we focus far less on, however, is failure. Our failures are actually a brilliant way to look into creativity and drive, and to learn from mistakes to achieve better future outcomes. A traveling exhibit that visited Brooklyn last year agrees.

At the Museum of Failure in Industry City, visitors saw more than 130 failures from corporations and investors. These failures allow people to learn from mistakes, to have a bit of a laugh and to see how people persevere. Curated by Dr. Samuel West, who is a psychologist and innovation researcher, the exhibit takes viewers as far back as the 17 century and shows failures from Coca Cola, Ford and many other well-known names in the corporate world.

The museum has actually been traveling around the world, having started in Sweden in 2017. It came to Brooklyn in 2023 and will soon be getting a permanent location in Malaga, Spain. Their mailing list is a great place to learn about their traveling exhibits and even to hire a small pop up museum for events. Certainly, our failures should be highlighted and celebrated more – and this museum helps people to see and appreciate that concept.


James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)