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Q&A: CMU grad opens 'Good Day Selfie Museum' in Ferndale

Catherine Tolbert-Wilson, owner of Good Day Selfie Museum, poses in the basketball room at 22742 Woodward Ave. in downtown Ferndale on Thursday, July 15.

Catherine Tolbert-Wilson wants her guests to leave having a good day. 

The recent Central Michigan University grad from Ferndale is the new owner of Good Day Selfie Museum, a self-serve photography studio in downtown Ferndale.

Tolbert-Wilson graduated from CMU in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in interior design. While at CMU she was part of the IMPACT program, and later became a multicultural mentor. After graduating, she returned to her home town to open a small business.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 11 a.m. on Thursday to celebrate the opening. Ferndale Mayor Melanie Piana was in attendance, as well as several other dignitaries and supporters.

Tolbert-Wilson sat down with Central Michigan Life.

CM Life: What is a selfie museum?

Tolbert-Wilson:  So the Good Day Selfie Museum is a self serve photography studio where people can come in, do an hour time slot and they can take pictures and videos in all of our 20+ photo exhibits. And people are able to book events if they want to do a private booking in the space and then they could just contact us and then we can set that up. And we really strive for positivity. There'll be affirmations on the walls and the majority of the rooms are actually designed around affirmations. So such as our basketball room, as you will see in there it will say "you miss every shot you don't take." So, as well as it being art, as well as positivity, as well as you're a part of the art. 

Why a museum and not a photography studio?

So me and my mom we absolutely love, love, love museums, and so we found the first selfie museum by searching museums in New York when we went. And so from there, I just wanted to make the selfies within the museum, so it's not just like a regular museum exhibit. So when you are here at the selfie museum, you become a part of that art.

What do you want your guests to get out of the experience?

I hope that they get out a good time. Our motto is, "no matter how you feel coming in, we want you to leave with a smile on your face and be able to have a good day."

What do you hope to get out of the experience?

My main thing, ever since I was a kid, I've always been known as like a positive person, a positive kid, and like the peacemaker. I know I'm successful when other people feel good coming in here. That's what success means to me, when I see people with a smile on their face, and really just like loving who they are and taking pictures of themselves.

How did CMU impact you?

When I went in my freshman year I was a part of the IMPACT Program. That was something my mom, she put me in that as a freshman. So it's a multicultural organization to help incoming freshmen, Multicultural Student freshmen coming in and helping them transition into a PWI. So I loved it my first year and then actually all three years afterwards, I was a mentor. So I helped other students come in, and transition into that, and it really brought me out of my shell and it really helped me become who I am today.

Why should people visit the museum?

People should definitely visit the museum because we are an amazing, positive place. We're friendly, we're really interactive, we want to get, like, not personal with our customers, but we want to, you know, build a relationship with our people coming in, since we're switching out [exhibits] so often. And this is a place where you can come and feel good. 

Do you have a favorite display?

Yes, so I have two favorites, so I have the enchanted garden is my number one favorite, as well as the money room. So the enchanted garden like when you walk in there, it just looks like a whole different space, like we have turf on the wall, grass on the walls, the vines coming down, a pretty flower wall, and it's like you really walk into like an enchanted garden. The money room is crazy, I love the money room. That has like the money gun in there, we have a fake $100 bills all on the wall, all on the floor, coins and everything and it just looks really cool in there.

Is there anything else you want to add?

At Good Day, we really strive on being inclusive and especially with Ferndale, the city that we're in. So we want people of all ages, genders, religions to come in. No matter what you look like or anything we want you to come in here and feel safe and feel comfortable in who you are.