Where Magazine calls MOPOP epic. BuzzFeed calls it “One of 39 Museums around the World to Visit Before You Die”. Tripadvisor calls it a “good time waster”. I agree. It’s a waste of time. MOPOP stands for Museum of Popular Culture.
My problem with this attraction is its subject. To me, pop culture is all that stuff that is buzzed about for a while but then disappears. David Cassidy died on November 21, 1917. The media was full of tributes to this entertainer who was a genuine TV and recording star in the 1970s. If they were aware of the tributes, I wonder how many people under the age of 50 asked, “David who?” MOPOP has an extensive display about DAVID Bowie, an entertainer who definitely had a longer and more diverse career than David Cassidy. He died in 2016. Only passing time will show if either David will be considered among the greats, like Elvis. Will MOPOP have a career retrospective on David Cassidy? Doubtful.
MOPOP started in 2000 in Seattle Center as the Experience Music Project. Microsoft founder Paul Allen was its mentor. I never visited it nor did anyone else I know. I assumed it was a rock and roll museum. Rock, the major pop music of the 2nd half of the 20th century, has faded a bit, in my opinion, since 2000. I assume that’s why EMP decided to broaden its repertoire by adding other aspects of pop culture. Tripadvisor tells its viewers to “Visit a museum like no other on earth” and 53% of those who did rated it excellent; so I’m in the minority and would probably be among the 18% who found it average, poor, or terrible. MOPOP is clearly trying to make its new concept work by calling itself a non-profit gateway museum and a landmark destination. A media kit is on its website. MOPOP was not crowded on the day Ruth & I visited.
I spent more time inside this attraction admiring the building instead of the displays. It was created by Frank Gehry and is typical of his flamboyant designs. The 1st thing visitors see past the ticket sellers is the Sky Church. This gigantic LED video screen pulsed with music videos while we were there reminding me of the adrenaline-inducing NASCAR film we had recently seen. A few people were watching but I couldn’t tell if they were enthralled or merely resting. The 2nd thing we saw was a guitar tower that I assume was much admired when EMP opened.
We went up some Gehry stairs to see the current special exhibit about Jim Henson. We enjoyed seeing the Muppets and other Henson creations. The exhibit focused on the once popular TV show and Sesame Street characters. The original Muppet TV show ran for 6 years ending in 1981. ABC cancelled the most recent Muppets TV show in 2016 after one season. 1979’s Muppet Movie was very successful. The last one made, The Muppets’ 2005 version of The Wizard of Oz received mixed to negative reviews and many critics said it was not kid-friendly. Jim Henson, who was very kid-friendly, died in 1990, 27 years ago. If you want to see MOPOP’s Jim Henson tribute, you have until 1/3/18.
The other exhibits we saw focused on Star Trek, horror movies, and video games. “Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction” featured artifacts from TV shows and movies like 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” is coming soon. The Science Fiction + Fantasy Hall of Fame, where I learned that Wonder Woman was co-created by psychologist Elizabeth Marston, had information about Jules Verne and Philip K. Dick.