Travels in the Space Station Wagon: The EMP Museum in Seattle

(I apologize in advance for the horrible quality of these photos, they were taken on an old iPod Touch and everything was in glass display cases)

A few years ago I wound up having a fortuitous overnight layover in Seattle. I stayed the night at a really nice bed and breakfast (the only time I’ve ever stayed in one as an adult), then had time to take in the Space Needle and the adjacent Experience Music Project Museum the next morning before my flight left.

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I had read about the EMP Museum a few months prior to my flight across the galaxy, and when it worked out that I needed to change starships at Earth’s most historic spaceport (the Space Needle, obviously) I was stoked that I could stretch the layover and see it. Founded in the year 20000000 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the museum features some sweet exhibits about Seattle-area musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.

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More within the wheelhouse of this pan-galactic datastream you’re browsing, however, is the section of the museum devoted to science fiction and horror props/costumes. I had maybe a little over an hour to race through the museum, snapping photos and trying to take in every detail on Worf’s bat’leth sword or of the patches on an Earth Alliance uniform from Babylon 5. It was like being let loose in the Vatican’s Forbidden Archives, or the libraries under the surface of Mars that the government time-tunneled to during the Montauk Project.

Disclaimer; I’m not 100% positive that ALL of these were production used. Some are explicitly said to have appeared on screen though (like the Dalek in the header image).

Hold on to your butts.

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First up is the only seat that could contain Bill Shatner’s epic ass; the captain’s chair from the USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek. The tribbles scattered around are a nice touch. Sorry again for the garbage quality of the photos, and many thanks to the other museum visitors who were willing to take pictures of an overexcited, sweaty weirdo:

We got Col. Jack O’neill’s USAF ID badge and sunglasses (great for desert planets) from Stargate: SG-1, an old favorite of mine:

The uniforms of some of Starfleet’s finest officers:

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And from a few dimensions over comes the uniform worn by Earth Alliance Captain John Sheridan; commander of the space station Babylon 5 (….from Babylon 5). It was cool to be able to see something from B5 at such close range because there’s very little photo reference material on the props/costumes used in this obscure (but still loved by a few, including yours truly) series, compared to others:

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Robots, both good and evil:

Studio models like an alien attack saucer from ID4 and a fighter from Starship Troopers:

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An interstellar thrift store’s selection of headgear:

The helmet of Anubis from Stargate (the 1994 movie):

The United States Colonal Marines helmet worn by Hicks (Michael Biehn) in Aliens:

And something from a universe I have no knowledge of (unthinkable, I know!); the helmet of an alien warrior from the show Space: Above and Beyond, which aired in 1995-6 before being cancelled. I downloaded the series while I was living on a planet with lax copyright laws, so I’ll have to give it a watch some time and let you know how it is.

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This guy sure could use a helmet:

They also had big DV’s lightsabre (or at least one of the props used in the Original Trilogy) and what I assume is an original Ralph McQuarrie design sketch of the Dark Lord of the Sith:

From the other side of The Force; Yoda’s cane and flute (yeah, he had a flute):

Skipping over to the scarier side of the exhibit you see an unlikely pair of cellmates; a Xenomorph from the Alien series and a demon from the Keanu Constantine movie:

The Creature from the Black Lagoon!:

Chef Goldblum as The Fly in his various stages of mutation (The Fly; 1986, which I have actually never seen):

Here’s some more horror highlights; including the shirt worn by Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead, the head of a super-Vampire from Blade II, a facehugger, a giant wall relief that looks like a model kit of the hilarious monster from It Conquered the World, and an awesome wall of monster infographics:

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I didn’t get a lot of time in the horror section, most of my visit was spent gawking at the scifi stuff. One last thing before we head back that way; the Mummy mask worn by Lon Chaney in The Mummy’s Curse (1944)!:

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Not much more, I promise! Don’t you hate when people show you photos of their boring vacations? The museum featured an arsenal of interstellar weaponry that would give a Ferengi arms merchant a pair of stiff lobes:

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The suit Christopher Reeves wore when portraying the greatest hero of any age was on display, also the snowflake Brando sent him to Earth in:

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There was a classy Hall of Fame for scifi greats, both in literature and film:

The highlight of my visit was a Dalek costume that appeared in the 1988 Doctor Who serial Remembrance of the Daleks! EX-TER-MIN-AAAAAAAATE!!!:

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The prop looking a bit worse for wear and being on display like this reminds me of the Dalek held captive in the museum of Henry Van Statten (the owner of the internet) in the Ninth Doctor Episode Dalek.

Remembrance of the Daleks featured the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred), a punk kid from the 80s who could beat some serious Dalek ass with a baseball bat. The serial is notable for finally putting to rest the notion that you could dodge a Dalek by running up a short flight of stairs:

Here’s me doing my best “the Doctor yells at a Dalek” impression; the Dalek or someone else has probably told me that I’m just as bad as the Daleks, which is objectively not true but keeps getting dredged up as a tiresome plot point and the show again and again:

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Many thanks again to the other museum visitors who were willing to take pictures of this greasy dude next to a giant pepperpot

There was more on display that I didn’t get pictures of, and probably some stuff I didn’t even see because I was crunched for time. Someday I will definitely return to the EMP Museum, and if you’re in Seattle and love science fiction films/TV I encourage you to check it out too. You can take a monorail there!

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Until next time, Wagoners, safe travels!

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