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Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP): 5 Best Exhibits

July 5, 2023 By CityPASS

Calling all popular culture lovers! If you're fascinated by anything music, film, science fiction, or video games, you won’t want to miss the immersive and iconic exhibits offered at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP).

Based in the heart of Seattle, Washington, the MoPOP celebrates the vibrant and ever-evolving world of popular culture through the ages. A diverse array of permanent and temporary exhibitions are available at the MoPOP, meaning it can be a stretch to fit them all in one day.

While the entire museum is worth a look, five current exhibits stand out as must-see highlights. Whether planning a family day trip, going solo, or visiting with friends, make sure you catch these five exhibits, leaving with peace of mind knowing you made the most of your MoPOP visit.

Why Should You Visit the MoPOP?

There are countless reasons to explore the realms of popular culture at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

  • Discover unique and interactive museum experiences. Delight the senses with an extensive collection of artifacts and interactive exhibits. The museum provides a deep dive into the iconic moments, influential figures, and cultural phenomena that have shaped our world.
  • Keep the whole family happy. MoPOP is the perfect place for family and friend groups with different ideas about what makes for a fantastic time. MoPOP’s exhibits cater to a wide range of tastes, whether you’re a music fan looking to relive the iconic moments of your favorite rock stars or a sci-fi enthusiast looking to get lost in a world of epic films.
  • Learn about Seattle. A trip to the MoPOP is also an excellent opportunity to learn about the city that houses it. The museum showcases exhibits and artifacts highlighting the artistic achievements, musical heritage, and creative contributions that have emerged from Seattle.

5 Best Exhibits To Explore

Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop

Opening dates: Open now through January 7, 2024

Contact High celebrates the rich heritage and artistic legacy of hip-hop. The exhibit explores the visual culture and behind-the-scenes stories of hip-hop through the lens of iconic photographers.

Discover a curated collection of over 170 photographs featuring influential artists like Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Queen Latifah, Tupac, and more. See moments and movements that have shaped the genre over the last 40-some years. These images capture the energy, creativity, and cultural impact of hip-hop. As well as photographs, Contact High also incorporates other elements like interviews, audio recordings, and videos, providing fascinating context to the images and helping visitors engage on a deeper level.

This multi-dimensional approach makes this exhibit one not to miss.

Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic

Opening dates: Permanent exhibition

This mesmerizing exhibit invites visitors to step into a world of imagination and explore the captivating world of fantasy literature, film, and art. It explores the inspirations behind many iconic fantasy worlds and characters, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

What are some things to discover in the exhibit?

  • The cowardly lion’s costume from The Wizard of Oz
  • Weapons from The Lord of the Rings
  • The first white walker head from Game of Thrones
  • Other epic costumes and props from TV and film

This exhibit also pays tribute to the artists, writers, and visionaries who have shaped the genre. See their original artwork, understand their inspirations, and even learn their artistic techniques. Guests can interact with interactive displays and listen to audio narrations, making this one of the pop culture museum’s must-visit installations.

Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film

Opening dates: Permanent exhibition

For those brave enough to enter, discover the spine-chilling exhibit that pays homage to the captivating world of horror cinema.

What are the attraction details? Find over 50 props and costumes from epic horror movies and TV shows like:

  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • The Walking Dead
  • Friday the 13th
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In addition to hosting a remarkable collection of artifacts, props, and costumes, this exhibit transports visitors into a macabre setting with eerie lighting and atmospheric soundscapes. If you're going with children, be aware that the exhibition has a minimum age of 13 due to some graphic content.

Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction

Opening dates: Permanent exhibition

This exhibit is unmissable for any hardcore sci-fi fan — and anyone that loves getting lost in an epic adventure movie, for that matter.

You'll see more than 150 artifacts from some of history’s most iconic films, TV shows, and books. From the sleek spaceships of Star Trek to the otherworldly creatures of Alien, each display captures the essence of its respective universe. You can even hop into an immersive spacecraft and explore virtual reality landscapes of various alternate realities.

The Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction exhibit is a testament to the enduring power of science fiction — and the Museum of Pop Culture reviews are always good. After your visit, you'll leave questioning the boundaries of human imagination and envisioning a new intergalactic future.

Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses

Opening dates: Permanent exhibition

This groundbreaking exhibition pays homage to one of the most influential bands in rock music history. The exhibit celebrates the music and history of the iconic Seattle rock band and its influence on the 90s grunge movement.

This immersive installation takes visitors through Nirvana’s meteoric rise, cultural impact, and enduring legacy. Feel the raw and rebellious spirit that characterized Nirvana’s music in the array of rare artifacts, including:

  • Original instruments
  • Handwritten lyrics
  • Personal belongings
  • Stage costumes

Sound experiences and video footage of electrifying live performances revive the power of the band’s live shows. You will even catch glimpses of Nirvana's creative process and band members' personal lives. This fascinating exhibit leaves people talking about the Seattle rock museum.

How To Make the Most of Your MoPOP Visit

Your Seattle CityPASS® ticket is the perfect way to maximize your experience at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. And don’t stress about searching for deals or purchasing the right tickets for your visit — just head straight to the five exhibits mentioned in this article.

A Seattle CityPASS® ticket offers access to other top things to do in Seattle, carefully selected to provide you with the best experiences Seattle has to offer and take the stress out of planning your visit. Save time and money and lose yourself in pop culture history's incredible highlights at MoPOP.

Seattle Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Seattle, we recommend finding lodging near Seattle's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Header Image Copyright 2013 EMP Museum

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