museumblog

A place to publish notes on exhibitions and museums. More discussion of this kind of work seems useful. Let me know if you find this of value, or if you'd like to contribute.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Seattle: Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

In building with Experience Music Project. Overall, disappointed: treated all of science fiction with same broad brush. Mostly focused on post-WWII sci fi, and so that’s not unreasonable. But by treating it thematically, it assumes it’s all the same.

First floor treats scifi as a social phenomenon. One very small time line. A section on fans which is pretty sophisticated—how fans shaped the writing. A hall of fame--well done technically, but pretty dry.

Second floor all thematic. Aliens, cities, weapons, space ships… Amazing collection. But because it’s all thrown together, nothing is covered in depth. (Cities better—three cities (Blade Runner, Jetsons, Matrix) explained—one of few sections with talking heads.

Overall not enough analysis for me. But a great collection.

The way they do books: mostly just the book on display. A Bruce Sterling manuscript, in longhand! Some good displays of covers, artwork.

Quality of writing and exhibitry not up to EMP. Pretty dry.

Visitors were deeply engaged. That’s probably common with museums that attract fans, who most of these people seemed to be.

What I would do differently: readings from books—play up the way that the written word can do imagined worlds. More politics—take a few books (say Red Mars) in depth, figure out what they mean. There’s politics in scifi that isn’t covered here—Heinlein’s libertarianism, Red Mars’ Marxism…

$26.95 for the two museums. Overall, worth it—I had my fill, and was entertained for the several hours or so I spent there.

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