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An exhibit for the Morris Graves Museum of Art

Childhood friends Mike and Doug began a blog after Mike saw an awkward vacation photo hung in his parents’ house. Realizing there were probably plenty of other people out there with their own awkward family images, the two friends decided to create a friendly, online place where everyone could come together and share their uncomfortable family moments. Thus, Awkward Family Photos was born. The site quickly took off and became an internet sensation; it now receives millions of hits daily and submissions from around the world.

This coming January visitors to the Morris Graves Museum of Art in Eureka, CA will have the opportunity to see the top 200 cringe-worthy photos in person. The AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS exhibition, opening January 21st, 2015, marks only the third time the collection will be shown in a museum setting.

awkward family photos2_palette15“Over the past 15 years, the MGMA has become a special gathering place for families,” said Jemima Harr, Executive Director-Curator. “This exhibition offers a fun, light-hearted way for us to celebrate that special—and sometimes awkward—family bond.”

But why make it into a museum exhibit when all the pictures are available online? For Bender and Chernack, it’s about the in-person experience.

“It emphasizes the fact that we’re all awkward, and that we have all of this stuff in common with other families,” Bender said. “When you see it laid out in a museum setting, it really hits that home.”

Bender is also proud of the exhibit’s picture frames, which are “awkward frames” from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. “The frames to me are almost as fun as the show,” he said.

In honor of the exhibition, visitors are invited to share their own absurd family snapshots and stories behind the photos, for a chance to win fantastic MGMA and Awkward Family Photo prizes. Visitors may hang their own photos and create wall text for them in the Knight Gallery.

With just 10 photos and a mission to celebrate the awkwardness of family, childhood friends Mike Bender and Doug Chernack launched in May 2009. Within a week, the site was receiving millions of visitors a day and thousands of submissions from around the world. Since then, the site has been featured on The Today Show, The View, Rachael Ray, The Tonight Show, ABC News, Nightline, Good Morning America, Time, People, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Readers Digest, AOL, MSN, Huffington Post, and was named one of the top 10 comedy websites by The official Awkward Family Photos book was released in May, 2010 by Random House and became a #1 NY Times Bestseller. In 2011, received two Webbys—the leading international award to honor website excellence and their second book Awkward Family Pet Photos debuted at #3 on the NY Times Bestseller List.

Awkward Family Photos is sponsored by: Philip & Sally Arnot; Rory & JoAnn Hanson; Betty Osborne; Carter House Inn; Grace Marton; Coast Central Credit Union; Anonymous; Jeanne Sapunor & Ralph Davis; William Osborne Fund, a fund of the Humboldt Area Foundation; Annex 39 Antiques; Funk Shui; Alfs, Evans & Company; Kathleen Bryson, Attorney; and the Times Standard.