The museum is located in Seattle, right by the Space Needle andSeattleCenter. It is a unique architectural work designed by the famed Frank Gehry, and shares the same space with the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.Experience Music Project or EMP was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and launched its grand opening in 2000.
The museum struggled financially in its early years and as a result, Allen established theScience Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM), which opened in 2004 in the south wing of the EMP building. When SFM opened, EMP and SFM were treated as separate museums, and visitors had the option of purchasing admission to one museum, or, at a higher cost, a combined admission to both. In 2007, after mounting criticism, both museums ended the separate admissions policy and began charging a single admission price for entrance to both wings.
The exterior of the building is quite unique. The outside of the building consists of stainless steel and painted aluminum shingles, each individually cut and shaped. The stainless steel has three finishes: mirrored purple, lightly brushed silver, and bead-blasted gold. The red and blue sections are painted aluminum. Each finish takes on an exciting and unique shade when viewed from different angles around the building. The red will fade with time, altering the appearance of the building's exterior and reflecting how music is ever changing.
Upon entering the Experience Music Project visitors will be welcomed by a large tower of guitars. There is also an area full of computers that provide pod casts about many subjects by experienced artists. Visitors also have the opportunity of trying out musical instruments and even orchestrating their own private jam sessions in soundproof booths.
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 museum contains mostlyrock memorabilia and technology-intensive multimedia displays.The Northwest Passage is dedicated to the history of Seattle music, includingJimi Hendrix,Heart, and thegrunge musicgenre.
In 2002, EMP introduced a traveling collection exhibit entitledDisco: A Decade of Saturday Nights. It remained in Seattle for one year, and in 2003 moved to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI and in 2004 to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. It has since been retired.
Patrons with hearing and visual impairments can count on the latest technology to help them enjoy the exhibitions and interactive elements within the museum. The facility provides an assisted listening system, sub-woofers installed in the floor so patrons can feel the music, a rear window captioning system, and an audio narration system.
The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and general admission is $15 per person. Group reservations can also be made and include a self-guided tour, discounted group rates, and group entry with designated motor coach drop off point.