The following is a review of Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) and may contain spoilers for the museum’s exhibits, artifacts and galleries.
Photos by: Caitlin English
Founded by Microsoft and Paul Allen in 2000, MoPop is home to some of the largest pop culture and science fiction icons in the world. With exhibits entitled “Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic”, “Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction”, and “Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film”, the Mopop’s galleries have something in store for all visitors, of all ages.
When first approaching the museum, one is encaptured by the building’s metallic and intricately shaped architecture. The building’s futuristic exterior was designed by architect Frank O. Gehry and is made up of over 21,000 aluminum stainless steel shingles.
Once inside the museum, the visitor enters the ‘Sky Church’ and is surrounded by high ceilings covered in lights that continue the futuristic design that can be seen throughout the interior and exterior of the building. From there, the galleries can be seen one by one from where you’re standing.
Here’s a review of each exhibit.
“Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction”
“Take an intergalactic journey as you explore a showcase of iconic sci-fi artifacts.”
Being a science fiction fan, I had high expectations going into this exhibit; which contribute to my overall opinion of the exhibit. When first entering the exhibit, the viewer’s eye is immediately grabbed by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s shiny duo-personality, the Terminator. With the iconic costume appearing in a saga of five movies, this leaves the viewer wanting to further explore what the exhibit has in store. Continuing through the exhibit the viewer will come across costumes from “Star Wars” (1977), props from “Ghostbusters” (1984), and various costumes from the British cult-classic television show “Doctor Who” (1963-89). The exhibit was interesting, but it wouldn’t have hurt to make the exhibit a little longer because it only took about 10 minutes to walk through. Overall, the exhibit was good, but it wasn’t fantastic, give it a rating of B+.
“Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame”
“Showcasing lasting impact through artifacts and histories.”
Walking out of the previous exhibit, I continued to the “Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame”. Having already experienced the first exhibit, my expectations were lower going into this exhibit. When you first enter the exhibit, to the right is Stephen Spielberg’s inductee, the infamous leather coat, hat, and medallion from “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1984). Following Spielberg, the viewer can see the ‘Creator of Science Fiction Himself,’ George Lucas with Luke Skywalker’s severed hand and lightsaber from “Star Wars, Episode IV: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980). Other notable artifacts in the exhibit include J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Map of Middle Earth” from the “Lord of the Rings” series and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock costume from “Star Trek”. The only grievance I have is the same as from the exhibit before; it was too short, and left the viewer longing to see much more, earning the overall rating of a C+.
“Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic”
“Make the world of make-believe believable.”
Out of all of the exhibits I visited, this was for sure my favorite due to it having a more realistic feel. The exhibit itself absorbs the viewer away from the world of reality while exploring the worlds of fantasy. Before entering the exhibit, you have to open a giant wooden door that resembles something out of a “Narnia” movie in order to be transported to the world of fantasy. Once inside the gallery, the viewer is greeted by Dorothy’s dress from the first full-length color film, “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), followed by various swords from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” (2001). Other key items in the exhibit include The Cowardly Lion and the Wicked Witch of the West’s hat from “Wizard of Oz” (1939), various costumes from “Game of Thrones” (2011), “Narnia” (2005), and “The Princess Bride” (1987). Out of the three exhibits, this one definitely took the most time to walk through due to the diversity and the highly detailed pieces of the collection. This exhibit was definitely worth the visit and I would recommend it to anyone who takes the time to visit; giving it the overall rating of an A.