Awkward Family Photos: The Exhibition opens at Riverfront Museum, Sept 15

More than 200 unintentionally funny family vignettes frozen in time will soon go on display at Peoria Riverfront Museum, when Awkward Family Photos: The Exhibition opens September 15th.

Awkward Family Photos brings to the public the original photographs that made the website of the same name an overnight, internet phenomenon. Museum visitors are invited to explore the “perfectly imperfect” occasions that come with the family experience, celebrate the often comical awkwardness – and take comfort in the fact that such family moments are universal.

“Most of the photographs in this exhibition were taken as formal family portraits, whether shot by a family member or by a professional photographer,” said museum curator Kristan McKinsey. “As such they are actually snapshots of how the family chose to present itself for posterity.”

The exhibition was created by Awkward Family Photos founders Mike Bender and Doug Chernack, and debuted in 2014 to record visitors at California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica, Calif.

Bender and Chernack, friends from childhood, got the idea for Awkward Family Photos after Bender rediscovered an awkward family vacation photo hanging in his parents’ home. Realizing that there were likely many other families with similar photos, the two designed and launched AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com in 2009 as “a friendly place where people could share their own accidentally odd family moments.”

“It is our hope that this exhibition will bring all our families a little closer together as we acknowledge those special times when we wished we were a lot farther apart,” said Bender.

Awkward Family Photos: The Exhibition is sponsored by a Friend of the Museum and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

The exhibition runs Sept. 15 through Nov. 15, and is included with general museum-planetarium admission: $11 adults, $10 seniors (60+) and students (with ID), $9 youth (3-17).

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