Rock out at the Experience Music Project (EMP)

The Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame is a museum dedicated to the history and exploration of both popular music and science fiction located at the Seattle Center, adjacent to the Space Needle and the Seattle Center Monorail, which runs through the building.

Experience Music Project (EMP) was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and opened its doors in 2000. The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM) opened in 2004 in the south wing of the EMP building.

The museum contains mostly rock memorabilia and technology-intensive multimedia displays. Experience Music Project showcases rare artifacts from popular music history and allows the visitor to experience music through interactive exhibitions like Sound Lab and On Stage. The Northwest passage is dedicated to the history of Seattle music, including Jimi Hendrix, Heart, and the grunge music scene.

The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame is one of the two public science fiction museums in the world (along with Maison d'Ailleurs, a science fiction museum in Switzerland). Among its collection of artifacts are Captain Kirk's command chair from Star Trek, the B9 robot from Lost in Space, the Death Star model from Star Wars, the T800 Terminator and the dome from the film Silent Running.

The structure itself was designed by Frank Gehry, and resembles many of his firm's other works in its sheet-metal construction, such as Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Many people say the design looks like a "smashed electric guitar." Forbes magazine called it one of the world's 10 ugliest buildings. Others describe it as a "blob."

Here's what you'll see:

The EMP/Science Fiction Museum is a great way to spend half a day. Try to go on the first Thursday of the month when admission is free. Located right next to the Space Needle – EMP is impossible to miss because of its very unique architectural design. Some people say that it looks like a smashed guitar. Others say it is just plain ugly. But the really cool stuff is located inside:


The Sky Church at EMP


The central "Sky Church" room pays homage to Jimi Hendrix and other rock 'n' roll icons using a 40-foot high, 70-foot wide video screen and an 18-panel montage of images. If you come at the right time, you may see a local artist performing there - or maybe even a headline act.

Roots and Branches sculpture at EMP


One of the most memorable exhibits in the EMP is a sculpture by Seattle artist Trimpin called "IF VI WAS IX: Roots and Branches". It's made of more than 700 instruments, and spirals upwards towards the roofline.

A guitar learning station in the Sound Lab at EMP


For some fun hands-on music experiences, check out the Sound Lab and On Stage located upstairs. You can learn to play a variety of musical instruments, or record a music video.

The Northwest Passage exhibit at EMP


The Northwest Passage will take you on a journey through time as you discover the many contributions that local musicians have made to rock 'n' roll history. From the Kingsmen ("Louie, Louie") to Jimi Hendrix to Heart to Nirvana, northwest rockers have always left their mark.

The Science Fiction Museum at EMP


Your admission to EMP also includes admission to the Science Fiction Museum, which is under the same roof. The Science Fiction Museum contains many well-known artifacts from science fiction movies and television shows - notably Captain Kirk's command chair from Star Trek and the original model of the Death Star from Star Wars, amongst many others.