Northwest NEWS

June 12, 2000


EMP's grand opening planned for June 23

Experience Music Project by Deborah Stone

   The Experience Music Project at Seattle Center is nearing completion, with a grand opening celebration planned for June 23rd.

   The event will feature special events in and around the museum and live performances by a wide variety of musicians from different genres. One million visitors are expected to the museum during its first year.

   Founded by investor Paul Allen and co-founder/executive director Jody Patton, EMP promises to be an interactive museum devoted to creativity and innovation in American pop music. The concept for EMP was driven by Allen's early passion for Jimi Hendrix, which led to the amassing of the world's largest collection of Hendrix memorabilia. A desire to share this collection fueled Allen's drive to create a museum and destination place to celebrate musical innovation and inspire all generations to feel moved by music.

   The 140,000-square-foot building, designed by world-renowned architect Frank O. Gehry, features textures, angles, and colors, symbolizing the energy of rock 'n' roll. It is layered with a combination of 21,000 different shaped stainless steel and aluminum tiles in various colors inspired by electric guitars.

   The museum will contain traditional exhibits, interactive multimedia presentations, and hands-on technology to tell stories of various music genres. A diverse collection of 1,200 pieces (from a total collection of over 80,000 artifacts) will be displayed, containing such items as the first electric guitars used by Bob Dylan, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, and Kurt Cobain, as well as handwritten song lyrics, rare song sheets, stage costumes, photos and films.

   Nine icons represent the major program components of EMP. The visually dramatic Sky Church is a gathering place where people of all ages will come together to experience music. One large wall features a massive video frieze, while glowing time capsules filled with objects donated from various bands are sunken into the translucent flooring.

   Crossroads is the main exhibit area and combines rare artifacts with imagery and multimedia to tell stories from a century of American pop music. Sound Lab is a futuristic studio where participants can interact with music by playing guitars, drums, or keyboards. Artist's Journey is a musical ride, combining special effects, theatrical lighting, film, audio, video, computer graphics, and state-of-the-art motion platform technology to transport visitors into the world of rock 'n' roll. It follows the paths of some of music's greatest artists.

   The Virtual Library is a place for visitors to explore details of thousands of artifacts and learn more about artists, musical styles, and exhibits. EMP will also provide Performance Stage areas designed for intimate performances, guest lectures, video and film series, master classes, and performing art productions.

   The Electric Bus is the museum's educational outreach vehicle, designed to reach more than one million people around the country over the next twelve months. It will contain a fully functional recording studio, a sample of exhibits from the museum, and portable music-making technology.

   Experience Arts Camp, now entering its third season, is a day-camp program that gives children and teens the opportunity to work alongside masters of contemporary music, art, film, drama, and creative technology. Studio is a series of hands-on educational programs allowing visitors to explore their own creative abilities.

   The museum will also contain a full-service restaurant, which will double as an after-hours nightclub with live music nightly. In addition, visitors can purchase merchandise unique to EMP at the museums' retail store.

   For more information about the Experience Music Project, call 206-770-2700 or visit the Webster at