EMP Museum is a nonprofit museum, dedicated to contemporary popular culture. EMP Museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000. Since that time EMP has organized dozens of exhibits, 17 of which have toured across the US and internationally. The museum, formerly known as Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (EMP|SFM), has founded numerous public programs including Sound Off! an annual 21 and under battle-of-the-bands that supports the all-ages scene and Pop Conference an annual gathering of academics, critics, musicians and music buffs. EMP, in collaboration with the Seattle International Film Festival SIFF presents the Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival, which takes place annually every winter at Seattle Cinerama Theater.
EMP Museum is home to exhibits, interactive activity stations, sound sculpture, and various educational resources.
A 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) building, designed by Frank O. Gehry, that houses multiple galleries as well as the Sky Church, which features a Barco C7 black package LED screen, one of the largest indoor LED screens in the World.
Exhibits that cover pop culture, from the art of fantasy, horror cinema, and video games to science fiction literature and costumes from screen and stage.
Interactive activities included in galleries like Sound Lab and On Stage where visitors can explore hands-on the tools of rock 'n' roll through instruments, and perform music before a virtual audience.
IF VI WAS IX, a guitar sculpture consisting of more than 500 musical instruments and 30 computers conceived by UK exhibit designer Neal Potter and developed by sound sculptor Trimpin.
The largest collections in the world of rare artifacts, hand-written lyrics, personal instruments, and original photographs celebrating the music and history of Seattle grunge musicians Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix.
Educational resources including EMP's Curriculum Connections in-museum workshops and outreach programs; STAR (Student Training in Artistic Reach); Creativity Camps for Kids; Teen Artist Workshops; and Write Out of This World, an annual sci-fi and fantasy short story contest for 3rd to 12th graders.
Public programs such as EMP’s Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival, Pop Conference, the Youth Advisory Board (YAB), and Sound Off! the Northwest’s premier battle-of-the-bands.
Science Fiction Museum
The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame was founded by Paul Allen and Jody Patton and opened to the public on June 18, 2004. It incorporated the formerly independent Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame established in 1996 (below). The museum was divided into several galleries with common themes such as "Homeworld," "Fantastic Voyages," "Brave New Worlds," and "Them!" Each gallery displayed related memorabilia (movie props, first editions, costumes, and models) in large display cases, posters, and interactive displays to sketch out the different subjects. "From robots to jet packs to space suits and ray guns, it's all here." Members of the museum's advisory board included Steven Spielberg, Ray Bradbury, James Cameron, and George Lucas. Among its collection of artifacts were 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. Although the Science Fiction Museum as a permanent collection was de-installed in March 2011, a new exhibit named Icons of Science Fiction opened as a replacement in June 2012, at which time the new Hall of Fame display was unveiled and the class of 2012 inducted.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame was founded in 1996 by the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society (Kansas City, Missouri) and the Center for the Study of Science Fiction (CSSF) at the University of Kansas (KU). The Chairmen were Keith Stokes (1996–2001) and Robin Wayne Bailey (2002–2004). Only writers and editors were eligible for recognition and four were inducted annually, two deceased and two living. Each class of four was announced at Kansas City's annual science fiction convention, ConQuesT, and inducted at the Campbell Conference hosted by CSSF.
The Hall of Fame stopped inducting fantasy writers after 2004, when it became part of the Science Fiction Museum affiliated with EMP, under the name "Science Fiction Hall of Fame". Having inducted 36 writers in nine years, in 2005 it began to recognize non-literary media. It retained the quota of four new members and thus reduced the annual number of writers. The 2005 and 2006 press releases placed new members in "Literature", "Art", and "Film, Television and Media", and "Open" categories, one each. In 2007 and 2008 the fourth inductee was placed in one of the three substantial categories.
EMP de-installed the Science Fiction Museum in March 2011. When the exhibition "Icons of Science Fiction" opened in June 2012, a new Hall of Fame display was unveiled and the class of 2012 inducted. Nominations are submitted by EMP Museum members but the selections are made by "award-winning science fiction authors, artists, editors, publishers, and film professionals." EMP restored the original name online during June 2013 and announced five new members, one daily, beginning June 17. The first four were cited largely or wholly for science fiction but the last was J. R. R. Tolkien, "hailed as the father of modern fantasy literature". The class of 2013 brings the number of members to 74, four annually except 2008 and 2013.
EMP is located on the campus of Seattle Center, adjacent to the Space Needle and the Seattle Center Monorail, which runs through the building. 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, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Gehry Tower. Much of the building material is exposed in the building's interior. The building contains 140,000 square feet (13,000 m2), with a 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) footprint. The name of the museum's central Sky Church pays homage to Jimi Hendrix.
A concert venue capable of holding up to 800 guests, Sky Church boasts 70-foot ceilings, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and a mammoth indoor HD LED screen. The last structural steel beam to be put in place bears the signatures of all construction workers who were on site on the day it was erected. Hoffman Construction Company of Portland, Oregon was the general contractor. Magnusson Klemencic Associates of Seattle, Washington were the structural engineers for the project.