On Friday night I had the opportunity to preview the new ICONS of Science Fiction exhibit at the EMP Museum here in Seattle.

The new exhibit was celebrated with an fantastic opening party.  Brooks Peck, the curator opened the party by telling the geeks in attendance that they were letting him down.  “When is the last time you told the bus driver to live long and prosper?”  And suggested that the watered down vampire stories and romance novels were turning SciFi readers into…well, romance readers. He suggested that we get back to our Science Fiction roots and that checking out the new exhibit was a good first step.

The party was great.  Geek Girl Con was in attendance playing “Dr. Guess Who”, the folks from Star Trek: Phoenix were enlisting guests into Starfleet, Geeks who Drink ran trivia, BJ Shea’s Geek Nation podcast was sketching bacon and DABooth had a fantastic Dr. Who themed photo booth set up.

I think I’d make a good Companion.

Are you a fan of both Dr. Who and Star Trek?  Well, then you need to get a giant screen like the one set up in the EMP’s Sky Church.  It showed all of the tweets coming in with the hashtag #EMPIcons while playing  a show on each side.  If you look carefully you can see that I tweeted “Shatner’s head looks almost life sized over there —->” because I’m hilarious like that.

How many parties do you go to where you are harassed by Klingons?

“Okay, Sharon, you got to go to an awesome party, we get it.  What’s in the actual exhibit? Can I bring my kids?”  That’s what I’m imagining you’re saying right now, so…

The exhibit was broken up into a series of questions.  Each had corresponding books, props and information that tied into the question being asked.

“What if you were the chosen one?” 
This showcases props and info from Dune, The Matrix (Neo’s coat), Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica  

“What if you had superpowers?”
This part of the exhibit explores what it would be like to be super-human.  Here you can see Christopher Reeve’s Superman IV costume, info about The Watchmen, and (adorably) an animation cell from The Powerpuff Girls

“What if we fought a war with aliens?”
This part of the exhibit showcases guns from Men in Black, the Anubis headdress from the Stargate film, and a toy spaceship used as a model in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space.

“What if we were enslaved by our machines?”
Featured two of my favorite artifacts, the T-800 skull used in Terminator 2 and a Dalek from the Dr. Who episode “Rememberance of the Daleks”.

“What if we could design our own children?”
Here, you can see the creepy teddy bear from A.I. and Data’s uniform from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Because of the way the exhibit is grouped by question and not chronology or subject, the exhibit is really engaging, and would be interesting to those who are not necessarily fans of the genre.

It’s worth mentioning that Peck mentioned that one of his “dream items” for the exhibit would be a screen-used prop or costume from Joss Whedon’s Firefly because he feels that with it’s limited run and cult-following it really embodies sci-fi culture.  So if you have such an item, or know where to get one and would like to display it for the world to see contact the EMP.

It’s a really, really fun exhibit.  I think most older kids (10+) who are fans of science fiction would enjoy it.  While you’re at EMP you can also check out the very interactive exhibit based on James Cameron’s Avatar, and the rest of the EMP which is dedicated to rock memorabilia.

One caveat: The EMP is currently hosting an exhibit called “Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film”  There is a small section of crossover with a small gallery between the two exhibits showcasing artifacts that span both the horror and science fiction genres.  Here you can see a facehugger and Alien from Aliens, Buffy’s stake “Mr. Pointy”, and the axe from The Shining.  The items in this space border on scary (the Alien model pictured at right is taller than I am.  I was convinced it was going to burst out of it’s metal cage at any moment), and the adjacent “Can’t Look Away” is definitely a PG-13 experience.  If you go, look for a picture of me on the “scream wall”.  I posed for one, but didn’t see it in the short time I was there.  The first reader to spot it and snap a photo will get a prize!

For more information and to buy tickets: http://www.empmuseum.org