Jimi Hendrix, Heart, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Candlebox, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog. No I’m not just rattling off my play list. Although they would all be on it, these are some of the bands that come from Seattle Washington.
The Experience Music Project (EMP) is a museum paying homage to the Seattle music scene. Hendrix and Nirvana are the major stars of this museum and each have exhibits devoted to them. Unfortunately during my visit the Hendrix items were in storage, which was a real bummer.
I was slightly disappointed in the Nirvana exhibit. Not in the fact that it was lacking anything Nirvana, but the fact that it focused strictly on Nirvana. And yeah I get it, they were one of the leaders of the grunge movement in the 90’s. But so was Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. Little acknowledgment was paid to any of these bands, who are just as worthy of having their own exhibit as Nirvana.
Anyway I’ll hop off my soap box.
Although the museum’s collection is impressive, even allowing you to to play out your own rock star dreams on a stage, the building alone is impressive. Designed by Frank Gehry, an architect who is well known for his uniqueness in design. The exterior of the museum is meant to represent a smashed electric guitar. I would say it’s a pretty abstract representation, but regardless of what you see in the design, the building is eye catching, like most of Gehry’s work.
The museum is broken up into three floors. The first floor houses the JBL theater, the Pop Kitchen and Bar and the exhibit “We are 12”, which is an exhibit dedicated to the Seattle Seahawk football fans, who are apparently the loudest fans in the NFL.
Floor two has the impressive guitar sculpture that reaches far to the ceiling. This is also where the exhibits to Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana are.
From an interaction standpoint I liked floor 3 the best. This is where you can try your hand at different music instruments in the sound lab. After you have decided which instrument you excel at you can then move to the On Stage where you step on stage and preform for your fans. OK maybe no real fans are there, but you do get to preform with instruments. I picked the drums, not that I was at all qualified to play them. Afterward you can get a photo of you and your band preforming your hit song (we played “I love rock and roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts). It was the most fun I’ve had since my last fake band performance back in elementary school, where again I was at the drums playing “We Built This City” by Starship. It was the 80’s – don’t judge me 🙂
The museum also houses some traveling exhibits, one of which is the Star Wars And The Power of Costume. This exhibit will be on display from January 31st to October 4th 2015. Although I did not see this exhibit while I was visiting the EMP, I have seen a similar Star Wars costume exhibit and highly recommend checking it out. This exhibit is an additional cost but if you purchase the ticket to see the costumes you are allowed to visit the rest of the EMP.