Boldly Going … To Star Trek at Seattle EMP

While in Seattle for a book signing over the weekend, I spent some time with a very good friend, during which we visited the Seattle EMP Museum and toured the special Star Trek exhibit currently on display.

As a long-time Star Trek AND Star Wars geek.  I enjoyed the exhibit thoroughly, and strongly recommend a visit if you’re in or near the Seattle area. For those who can’t make it in person, I thought I’d share some of the highlights on the blog this week.

16H28 EMP sign

The EMP (Experience Music Project) museum is located near the base of Seattle’s famed Space Needle, and features a number of permanent pop-culture collections relating to film, gaming, and music.

From the moment you enter the Star Trek exhibit, there’s no question what you’ve come to see:

16H28 Captain's chair

Even the stairs leading to the exhibit continue the theme:

16H28 ST stairs

The collection features costumes, sets, and props from every iteration of Star Trek, though the lion’s share of the exhibits come from the original series and The Next Generation. 

Front and center: Kirk’s original command chair and the navigation console from the original TV series:

16H28 Command chair

With mannequins wearing costumes originally worn by DeForest Kelley:

16H28 DeForest Kelley Tunic

and George Takei. (Sulu is one of my favorite characters, but sadly the lighting–though excellent for viewing–created glare on a lot of the cases, making it difficult to get good images of many of the exhibits, including Sulu’s tunic. You can see it clearly in the photo of the command chair above, though!)

Other mannequins displayed costumes worn by the other original cast members, along with a few specialty costumes, like “evil Kirk’s” tunic from the episode Mirror Universe:

16H28 Kirk costume Mirror Universe

The exhibit also included a number of costumes worn by guest stars and secondary characters. My favorite showed two iterations of Khan Noonien Singh: the original costume worn by Ricardo Montalbán in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and the one Benedict Cumberpatch wore when reprising the role in 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness.

16H28 Khan

Despite the differences, there’s a unity of design that I didn’t appreciate until I saw the costumes side by side.

Props featured heavily in the collection, including Type II phasers from the original series:

16H28 phaser

and The Next Generation:

16H28 Type II phaser TNG

as well as one of my all-time favorites, “the” tribble that gave Kirk and the crew so much trouble in The Trouble with Tribbles:

16H28 tribble

My husband and I love this particular episode so much that we have a cat named Tribble Trouble (Tribble for short).

16H28 Tribble 2

See the family resemblance?

The exhibit included a “hands-on” section of Jeffries Tube visitors could crawl through – and of course I didn’t pass up the opportunity to crawl inside:

16H28 Jeffries Tube

Many of the scale models used for exterior shots in the series and feature films were also on display. The larger ones, like this original Enterprise, measured several feet in length and were hung from the museum ceiling:

16H28 NCC1701 Film model

The exhibit also featured a number of interactive exhibits, including filmed interviews with original cast members, a chance to get your best KHAAAAAAAAAN face superimposed on a film clip, and an opportunity to “ride” the transporter beam (on a screen) through the magic of special effects. 

If you are, or know, a Star Trek fan and have the chance to get to the exhibit while it’s in Seattle, it’s definitely worth a trip.

So…which Star Trek is YOUR favorite?