Once known as the Experience Music Project, this shimmering, Frank Gehry-built, jellyfish-like building is a cultural icon and perhaps Seattle’s main attraction – aside from the weather, that is (snicker snicker).
Founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the EMP Museum opened its doors in 2000 to a throng of eager music (and architecture) lovers. The museum is designed to collect interesting music memorabilia and display pertinent information regarding famous music icons; but its very structures leave you in awe of what man (specifically Frank Gehry) can produce. Another feature and hallmark of the EMP is its use of technologically-advanced displays. Here you can find everything from an instrument called a theremin to the largest single LCD screen in the world.
As originally constructed, the EMP had a bit of a rough start garnering enough funds to be self-sustaining and profitable. That ended by adding on the Science Fiction Museum Hall of Fame. Now, one ticket gets you into both museums and the day can be spent riding via monorail from one googly structure to the next.
Current exhibitions include Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film and Avatar, in which visitors will get a chance to see behind the scenes of what made this blockbuster the latest and greatest in special effects and movie production. Other rock and roll hall-of-fame exhibits include Jimi Hendrix – An Evolution of Sound and the ongoing Nirvana.
The EMP Museum has been a key economic driver for Seattle nonprofits and art scenes, so feel good about promoting music and the arts upon your visit. You’ll be glad you did – even if just for the architecture alone.