Hate museums? You sure won’t anymore once you visit this awesome interactive music center!
Luckily for visitors, Seattle is full of wondrous and sometimes wild sites and attractions that no other city holds, such as the Seattle Space Needle or the boathouse from Sleepless in Seattle (yes, it does exist). In the opinion of this Lomographer, however, the coolest place you can go to in the city would have to be the Experience Music Project.
The EMP is housed in a giant, amorphous building designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry. The outside in itself is a work of art; smooth glass and metal lines moving in a random yet fluid motion, all in various eye popping colors (sound familiar, Lomographers?) Once inside, your first sight is two extremes: one is a massive screen, at least fifty feet tall, but broken into vertical sections where they play old and new concert videos. Just twenty feet away is the second extreme, a two story sculpture made entirely of over 200 musical instruments.
The way the sculpture rises from the ground makes it feel like the instruments are pouring from the earth and falling into the sky, in a type of reverse-gravity situation. From there, you can check out the temporary exhibition area (when I was there it was filled with guitars/clothing/etc from Jimi Hendrix), or you can go upstairs to what is easily the best part of the museum; the interactive workrooms. Here, instead of just looking at a guitar or a drum set, you can walk right up to them and play them. Separated inside soundproof rooms, each of these various instruments give you the option to follow their guidelines and perform a introductory crash course in say, piano or electric mixing studio; or to just play the instruments in whatever manner you want (the rooms have a 10 minute limit for each party, so everyone gets a chance to use them). Its one thing to rip a white-hot guitar solo while a bunch of eight year old are staring wistfully at you through a glass door, but its a whole ’nother thing to perform “Smoke on the Water” with you on the electric keyboard, your brother on the guitar and your dad on the bongos (yes, bongos).
Overall though, the EMP is what I think most modern museums should be; a giant smorgasbord of various interactive displays/ rooms that challenge the visitor to actually think and to be able to leave knowing something that they didn’t know before they stepping inside. Who knows, you might even get a new musical skill out of it.