EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum, Seattle, USA

Posted on July 10, 2012 by


the exhibition list

The EMP Museum (formerly known as Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum) is based at the Seattle Center, just next door from the Gates Foundation Visitor Center and founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The building itself is pretty audacious, designed by Frank Gehry, and wholly not to my tastes, although the bravado truly appeals to me. What do you think?

the exhibition list

Image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EMPPano11.jpg

As you come to the entrance to the galleries you’ll see the tower of guitars which is an impressive display.

the exhibition list

Seattle is the home to lots of cool bands, one of the most popular coming out of the late 80s grunge scene was Nirvana.the exhibition list

This is a great exhibit for Nirvana fans and music fans generally, there’s a lot to learn about the history of the band and there is extensive memorabilia on display. The exhibition creates an atmosphere explaining the energy of the music scene Nirvana were a part of, it took me back to my teenage years (although I do still rock out to the music displayed).the exhibition list

The museum plays music throughout relevant to the exhibit you’re in, which helps lighten the mood. This little room gave you a chance to record your thoughts on Nirvana and what they meant to you, I liked the idea but it could’ve been edited into a more lively presentation. You can imagine lots of people were just excited to be on camera, or got shy…

the exhibition list

The Jimi Hendrix exhibit tickled my fancy, when I was volunteering at Handel House Museum in London, the offices there used to be Hendrix’s apartment so my knowledge on the subject was pretty good and this embellished it nicely…the exhibition list

It demonstrated how Hendrix affected popular music with his inventive sound and incredible talent….and with this playing on a big screen as you walk around, so I had no complaints.

The next exhibition was about the film Avatar. Have you seen it?

the exhibition list

It provides an exciting chance to see how the special effects work, you can even try it out first hand with some 3D interactive exhibits. Pretty high budget stuff, if you have children this would be a great place to take them, its so nice to see lots of smiling happy faces.

the exhibition list

There is a huge screen in the area between all the exhibition spaces where they screen music videos, when I was there they were showing Thriller which complimented the next exhibit.

the exhibition list

Can’t Look Away: The Lure of the Horror Film presents an interesting display exploring horror, and how it is expressed through cinema, biology, history, and contemporary culture.

the exhibition list

Personally I can look away, I don’t really like horror films, but I do love zombies and the apocalypse theme in general. The memorabilia is extensive  and you can see on the image above the reasoning they suggest as to why we love scary films.the exhibition list

The Scream Booth was super cool.. its a sound proofed room that you can go in and record yourself screaming, very cathartic.the exhibition list

I was there just before the new Sci-fi exhibit so unfortunately I missed out. They did have a room I found fascinating, it had lots of computers housing stories by musicians on lots of different subjects; touring, social struggles, scenes. For those with time to sit and listen there was a wealth of information from many recognised artists.the exhibition list

Above is Odetta speaking about the social struggles she experienced growing up. Then a complete change of scenery…

The AC/DC exhibition charted the history of the band and looked at their creativity of artists, I didn’t spend too much time reading all of the information as tiredness was kicking in but I enjoyed looking at the pictures…the exhibition list

They had this lovely display at the end made out of old denims where you could write your memories of the band. One of the most exciting features of the museum was a room where you can play various instruments…the exhibition list

A great way to end your tour, by (attempting in my case) to make some music… it makes you appreciate the skills of your  favourite artists. The museum has a lot to offer and I would highly recommend a visit, in some ways it does feels like a pretty indulgent project for the founder, but that’s not worth considering, its very well curated, there is something for everyone – if you like music or science fiction.

Entry Fee: $18

Location: Seattle Center, 325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109