A Family Guide To The Museum of Pop Culture

I did not expect the Museum of Pop Culture (or MoPop as its popularly called) as engaging as it was. But after spending a few hours at this quirky museum I understand why everyone has it on their must-do list for Seattle. You can play video games, see music videos from famous Seattle musicians, view amazing pieces from your favorite fantasy and Sci-Fi movies, then virtually try on an outfit from your favorite Disney movie. You can understand why my kids did not want to leave the museum.

A silvery castle within the Hall of Fantasy in the Museum of Pop Culture

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MoPop is a museum like no other. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of creative expression. It works to immerse you in popular culture with a selection of permanent and temporary exhibits. These exhibits are a mix of artifacts, paintings, and art, along with interactive elements. While this is not a children’s museum, there is a ton here that your children of all ages will recognize and be interested in viewing.

Quick warning: the museum changes its exhibits frequently. I am posting what was in the museum in October of 2021. Be sure to check the museum website to see the latest exhibits available. However, this will give you a good example of what kinds of exhibits the museum offers, and how you can expect them to be interactive.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame

Two children interacting with the computer table in MoPop

This was our first exhibit, and it started off strong. Here there are different pieces of memorabilia of some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy. You will see things like Spock’s uniform, the Indiana Jones’ Jacket, and information on Jules Verne. But there is also an interactive quiz where you get matched with someone in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of fame. Then using an interactive computer table, you can look up information about that person, book, or movie. My kids must have done this quiz ten times with different answers to run over and learn about something new.

Indie Game Revolution

A young man in front of a computer monitor playing a game

In this room there were a number of independently developed video games. You can find them for computers, PlayStations, Nintendo, etc. This was a very interactive exhibit as you could play all the games in the room. We had to drag my son out of there, he wanted to play every game to completion.

Music Exhibits

A close up of different guitars on display
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Level two also has a number of exhibits centered around musical genres. At the time, the exhibit was grunge music from the ’90s and we chose not to visit. However, we did admire the impressive statue made of guitars in the center of the hall.

Halls of Sci-Fi and Horror

Exhibits from the Hall of Science Fiction in the Museum of Pop Culture

These halls are technically on level one but can only be accessed from level two. Each of these halls contain memorabilia from famous science fiction and horror movies, television shows, and books. These halls are less interactive but do have short films to watch and plaques to read with interesting information. My son, who spent a considerable amount of time in the Hall of Horror, said there was a spoooooky TV that was found in a forest at night. The TV just had static and it warned not to touch it. He was obviously fascinated and of course tried to touch it but backed away because he said he was too scared.

Hall of Fantasy

Exhibits from the Hall of Fantasy in the Museum of Pop Culture

This might have been one of my favorite exhibits. This exhibit had memorabilia from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc. Here you found interactive computer exhibits that let you match to some of your favorite characters. There were tunnels for the little ones to crawl around. Lots of fun instagrammable photo ops. And of course, short films to view.

Special Exhibit: Disney’s Heroes and Villains

A selection of exhibits from the Heroes and Villains special exhibit at the MoPop

We were in the museum when the special exhibit was Heroes and Villains, the Art of the Disney Costume. This exhibit contained elaborate costumes from Disney’s more recent live action movies. This exhibit was simply breathtaking. You walk in to see the opulence and artisanship of the blue Cinderella dress from the most recent Disney live action remake. Then lined up were other Cinderella dresses from past live action movies, as well as dresses for the fairy godmothers and other characters. 

The blue gown from the 2015 live action Cinderella

We saw the costume for the Beast, Maleficent, for the three witches in A Wrinkle in Time. I even got to have my Belle moment from Beauty and the Beast. 

A woman posing in front of the yellow dress from the 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast

There was a fun exhibit where you got to virtually try on the costumes through an interactive mirror. You also had an exhibit where you analyzed if you were a hero or a villain and what character you aligned with. I was Mary Poppins. I could have spent hours staring at these gorgeous dresses. But alas my children could not. Nor my husband.

Tips

MoPop is a museum like no other. You get to learn about fun and interesting pieces of society and history that do not get covered in a normal history museum. It lets you immerse yourself in the fun. Take some time to visit this museum. You will get your kids engaged about museums again.

  • Make sure to check the website before you go to know what exhibits are currently available. We were disappointed to discover we came just too late to see the Stonewall exhibit.
  • While admission to the museum is included with your Seattle City Pass, the special exhibit on the third floor is an additional charge. I believe we paid $6 a person to add on the Heroes and Villains Exhibits.
  • This is a very interactive museum with lots of high touch areas. The museum does an excellent job of having hand sanitizing stations all around. Make sure to sanitize frequently.
  • At the time we visited in October of 2021 masks were required. Be sure to check the website for their latest covid restrictions.
  • There is a small café in the bottom floor. However, we found that eating at the armory nearby provided us more options and was more economical.
A young girl wearing a mask in the museum

MoPop is a museum like no other. You get to learn about fun and interesting pieces of society and history that do not get covered in a normal history museum. It lets you immerse yourself in the fun. Take some time to visit this museum. You will get your kids engaged about museums again.

Want to know more about what to do in Seattle? Check out my post, the Ultimate Long Weekend in Seattle to plan your next trip.

A Family Guide to the Museum of Pop Culture

* Starred Photos taken by Atma Photography

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