The Experience Music Project (EMP) is an interactive museum dedicated not only to music, as the name suggests, but to all things pop-culture. If you’re me this makes it a place worth visiting. In fact we are frequent visitors and though our group ranges in age from 7 – 70+ there truly is something for everyone, making this an excellent family activity, especially on a rainy Seattle day. On our most recent visit we sang our hearts out in the Sound Lab, danced in the Sky Church, explored the galaxy, said Hello to Kitty White, experienced the 12th Man exhibit, learned what it takes to become an indie game designer and entered a world of fantasy. Believe it or not, we didn’t even see everything!
Getting to EMP couldn’t be easier, from Downtown just jump on the monorail, the station is located on the 3rd floor of the Westlake Center, and get off at the first stop, which by the way, happens to be the only stop! EMP is situated at the base of the Space Needle and you can’t miss it! In fact your ride on the monorail will take you right through the center of EMP. Pretty neat!
Speaking of the monorail… The monorail was built for the Seattle Worlds Fair in 1962 and according to its website carries approximately 2 millions passengers every year. Considering how far it goes, or rather doesn’t, that’s pretty impressive. Not just a tourist attraction, locals use the monorail during festivals and sporting events all year long.
Judging A Museum By Its Cover
In many cases it’s what’s inside that counts, but in EMPs case the outside is pretty special too! Designed by the world renowned architect Frank Gehry, EMP’s outer shell is a lot like cilantro, you either love it or you hate it. I happen to be in the love it camp, but I might be a tiny bit biased, since I met my husband during the construction phase. We were both working for LMN Architects, Gehry’s local partner, and Tim was spending a lot of time on site. By the time The Experience Music Project actually opened in 2000, Tim and I were engaged and I’d been a regular visitor for quite some time!
Ever wonder what its like in the recording booth when your favorite singer is recording their latest hit? Have you ever wanted to record your own song? Play the guitar, drums, keyboards, be in a band? Then Sound Lab is the place for you! A permanent exhibit at EMP, Sound Lab has everything you need to fulfill your own personal Rock Star dreams all you need to do it is Bring IT! In case you’re the shy type, don’t worry, the private sound booths will allow you the opportunity to fully let yourself go!
Hello! Exploring the Super Cute World of Hello Kitty
I mentioned something for everyone, and if you’ve been following my blog then you might already know that I am a big fan of all things Japanese, and especially kawaii! When I saw that EMP was hosting a Hello Kitty exhibit, there was no question EMP was on our list of things to do during our most recent Seattle visit.
Wandering through the exhibit you’ll learn about Hello Kitty’s role in pop-culture over the past 40 years. With her sweet form gracing everything and anything from toys to toilet paper, motor oil, fashion and even orthodontia appliances, she’s made quite an impact the world over! She’s everywhere! My favorite part of the exhibit was the Hello Kitty inspired pieces of artwork from around the world. If you’re interested, you’d better hurry as Hello Kitty will be leaving EMP for her next destination on May 16, 2016.
Indie Game Revolution
This exhibit was HIGH on both my boy’s list! Translation: We had to drag them out… If you’re kids are anything like mine then it’s all I can do to pull them away from their devices and with new games coming out just about every week, I’m losing the war. Recently I realized that supporting what they love and encouraging them to peel back a layer and possibly learn what it actually takes to make their own games might be one way to combat the screen war in our home. At least they’d be doing something creative, right? I might not be winning the war, but I may have won the battle? Am I fooling anyone? Myself?
But, I digress. So, what’s this exhibit about? Playing video games of course, but not mainstream games. The games featured here were created by independent game developers, coders, designers, and composers from around the world. For your gaming pleasure there are multiple games featured and they’re on a rotating schedule, so if you plan to make multiple visits you can look forward to checking out the latest. Simon’s favorite game was Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime*, which as luck would have it is available on DLC. That’s downloadable content for those of you who aren’t in the know.
Fantasy: World of Myth and Magic
Explore costumes, props, scripts and art from popular movies and television shows both past and present. A favorite of mine!
The 12th Man (Seahawks exhibit)
A celebration of both the Seattle Seahawks and their fans! Enjoyable even for a non-football lover like me. Inside the exhibit you’ll have the opportunity to experience what it feels like to be on the playing field during a game as well as other fun interactive activities.
A large event space located inside of EMP, Skychurch’s giant screen plays a selection of music videos throughout the day. The kids really enjoyed seeing their favorite artists larger than life on the big screen and even spent some time dancing while I spent some time in the nearby gift shop!
And That’s Not All…
There is so much to see and do at EMP that even with the better part of a full day spent there we ran out of time. We did spend some time in the Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction exhibit, but missed out on Can’t Look Away the horror exhibit, as well as the Guitar Gallery, the Nirvana exhibit and many others. Lucky for us we know we’ll be back on our next Seattle visit!
EMP Interiors Curves & Steel
*Wondering what the game I mentioned above is all about? Here is the official description:
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime: Explore a neon galaxy in your very own battleship in Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, a thrilling 1- or 2-player couch co-op adventure. Only through teamwork can you triumph over the evil forces of Anti-Love, rescue kidnapped space-bunnies, and avoid a vacuumy demise. Deep space is a dangerous place, but you don’t have to face it alone!