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Experience Music Project

From Academic Kids

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Sign advertising the opening of EMP
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A view of EMP's southeast corner

The Experience Music Project (EMP) is a museum of music history founded by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, located on the campus of Seattle, Washington's Seattle Center. It is sited near the Space Needle and is one of the two stops on the Seattle monorail. Paul Allen's Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame is located within the EMP building. EMP also runs radio station KEXP in partnership with the University of Washington.

The museum contains mostly rock memorabilia and technology-intensive multimedia displays, probably a reflection on the tastes of Allen.

The structure itself was designed by Frank Gehry, and resembles many of his firm's other works in its sheet-metal construction, such as Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Gehry House. One architectural critic referred to its form as evocative of a "melted electric guitar". The architecture was greeted with a mixture of acclaim and derision by Seattle residents, some of whom call it "The Blob" or "The Hemorrhoid" (the latter designation may derive from the fact that it sits a short distance from the base of the rather phallic Space Needle).

Detractors have also charged that the museum was primarily "a way for Paul Allen to get a tax break on his rock memorabilia collection" and "a way to sell Microsoft Pocket PCs" (museum visitors were given Pocket PC devices, running Windows CE, that serve as personal "guides" to the exhibits). Supporters defend Allen, pointing to his other philanthropic acts.

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