The EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum is a non-profit museum located at the Seattle centre adjacent to the iconic Space Needle, it is a rather oddly spaced museum cladded in shiny silver and purple signaling you that this is not any other ordinary building sitting right here in the heart of downtown Seattle. The exterior of the museum is designed with abstract wavy patterns which reflect sunlight to the surroundings. The Seattle monorail connecting Seattle Center to Westlake Center Mall station at Fifth Avenue runs through the building in a rather comical manner.
Dedicated to contemporary popular culture, the museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000 and designed by architect Frank O. Gehry. It houses multiple galleries and is essentially a geek museum. Past the ticketing counters, a spectacular guitar sculpture sits center stage in the exhibition common areas connecting the various galleries. Going with the music atmosphere, permanent exhibitions includes specific music-themed galleries, such as a Sound lab a musical instrument jam with proper instruments, the Nirvana gallery (Taking Punk to the Masses) and a sizable Guitar Gallery (The Quest for Volume). The “Sky church” is also a sight to behold featuring an enormous Barco C7 black package LED screen with regular movie screenings, one of the largest indoor LED screens in the world.
Commendable exhibits also include the Indie Game Revolution gallery. Brought to you by Nintendo, the gallery features an array of multimedia exhibits showcasing the stories of more than 40 independent video game developers, designers, coders, composers, and critics. The gallery itself is decked in a rather nostalgic shade of retro pixel pink, reminiscent of Minecraft. presenting a dynamic, immersive space, yet inviting you to witness the present and future of gaming as it unfolds through a variety of video displays and games to try your hand too.
A rather neatly themed gallery will be the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic gallery. Set in the medieval ages, you get to explore the exhibits like walking through a storybook fairy tale through a castle with artefacts from literature, video games, and comics; and celebrated costumes from TV and film, including The Princess Bride, The Wizard of Oz, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Labyrinth. The Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction exhibit is packed with more than 150 artefacts from iconic films and television shows, indicating actual props from Ghostbustsers, Battlestar galactica to Dr Who.
Movie horrors is a rather cool exhibit, focusing on monsters in movies, and the evolution of the fright on the screen through the generations. Here, you can have a go at watching almost every single conceivable horror movie on record, such as Psycho, Frankenstein, American werewolf in London and learn about the thought processes in delivering the chills to screen. If the movies do not scare you, then life-sized movie props form Aliens, Texas chainsaw and a variety of multimedia themed elements, such as a scare box and allowing to become a silhouette monster will give the fun to horror (now is that a weird combination!).
With the force awakens craze on hyperdrive, there is no better way to honor the new movie release with the new Star Wars Power of Costume gallery. This new gallery houses original costumes of all major characters used in the actual movies spread over a two floor gallery. The Star Wars and the Power of Costume gallery is laid out in a sequential manner, allowing you to explore the trials and triumphs in dressing the Star Wars universe in this special behind-the-scenes look at the costumes that shaped the identities of the most iconic characters of our time.
That is all for my autumn 2015 visit to the EMP museum. If you are a geek and music junkie at heart, the museum gets my recommendation as one of the must-see spots whenever you are in downtown Seattle.
View more photos of the Seattle EMP Museum and galleries.