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A December Day in Seattle Part 2 – The Museum of Pop Culture

Walking through the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) is a blast. I did not know what to expect but I was intrigued just by the exterior of the building.  Famed architect, Frank O’Gehry, was inspired by the various shapes of electric guitars to create “a structure that evoked the rock ‘n’ roll experience.”

The MoPop Museum in Seattle, photo from the MoPop website
South Entrance, photo by Karen Gough

The MoPop museum has rotating exhibits featuring popular music, feature film genres and games. The exhibits are large and colorful and definitely draw you in. The day we were there the museum had musical exhibits featuring Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam and Nirvana.  They had film exhibits featuring props from well known Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films. They also had an  exhibition on the video game Minecraft as well as a permanent Sound Lab and Guitar Gallery.

The guitar sculpture outside the Guitar Gallery took my breath away.

I learned something about 60s icon Jimi Hendrix. They had samples of his actual writings – his lyrics could be very beautiful.

Lyrics to the song, “Straight Ahead” by Jimi Hendrix

I skipped the Nirvana and Pearl Jam exhibits (not being a fan) but I enjoyed seeing the large format images of Prince and reading about his history.

They did not have an Elton John exhibit but they did have one of his jackets.

Moving on to the film genre’s – they had separate rooms devoted to fantasy, science fiction and horror. These rooms were great – good signage and actual props from the movies.

Dorothy’s Dress from the Wizard of Oz
A Palace Guard Uniform from the Wizard of Oz
The Cowardly Lion’s Costume – made from actual Lion Pelts

Judging from the number of photos I took, I guess I loved the Science Fiction Hall the most.

Spock’s Uniform Tunic!
A Mask and Costume from Planet of the Apes
From Terminator 2: Judgement Day
General Roth’h’ar Sarris from Galaxy Quest
Don’t Mess with Sarris!
THE Alien from Alien
The Alien’s Hand
The Alien’s Foot – Look at that Detail!
Alien Close-up

MoPop is a large multi-story building with plenty of room for all. Some exhibits you’ll want to explore for a long time, others just briefly, but they were all well done. I briefly visited an Indie Game Revolution exhibit just because it was so beautiful.

Entering the World of Games
Interactive Exhibits

Last but not least was the amazing Sky Church, 5,384 square feet of sound and screen. It was “named after a concept that Jimi Hendrix had of a place where people from all backgrounds and beliefs could come together through the power of music.” (see website). It was fun to walk in and out of there, hang out a while and watch/listen to the various bands they would showcase on the giant 33×60 HD LED screen. Here’s an example:

Sorry to subject you to a Gangnam Style Video – so bad they were hilarious!

Anyway, MoPop is located at  325 5th Ave, North Seattle, 98105 in the Seattle Center. Winter hours (Sept to just before Memorial Day in May) are 10am to 5pm and Summer hours (Memorial Day thru Labor Day in Sept) are 10am to 7pm. Tickets cost $36 for adults and $21 for youth (5 to 12), cheaper for students, seniors and the military. You can save $2 a ticket buying them online. You can also buy a Seattle CityPass and save money that way.

For more information visit the MoPop website at

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