EMP was very, very cool. The tech they use in the exhibits, the sheer volume of information about various artists, music, instruments, etc, all very cool. 6:9, the famouse statue of guitars, was interesting, listening to the ‘live’ music created and all that. I made sure I got one of the MEGs, the little wireless guides that let you learn more about any particular photo, exhibit, etc was a very nice thing. I was really glad that they included that in the price of admission.
I went to the ‘unique objects’ exhibit, a collection of clothing, essentially, of stars throughout the ages which was interesting only in that I learned that Jim Morrisson must have been tiny. The Jimi Hendrix exhibit was very complete, but having been a former Jimi Hendrix fanatic, I didn’t feel I learnt that much. And seeing a fragment of the guitar he set on fire at Newport wasn’t that much of a thrill. The Guitar Gallery, which showed the evolution of guitars over the past 300 or so years was fascinating. I think I spent nearly an hour in that exhibit.
I next ventured into ‘The Northwest Passage’, highlighting the region’s contribution to music history, which as it turns out, is sporadic but fairly intense (garage rock, grunge being the highlights). After that, I went on to ‘Milestones’, which highlights important moments and characters in the development of rock/hiphop/punk/skater punk. My biggest complaint is the hefty bias towards rock music – very little in the way of blues/jazz/r&b/funk/soul/electronica was listed at all, except where it meets rock. And nothing really ‘contemporary’ – it seems to end with grunge and neo-punk in the mid-nineties.

The coolest thing, by far, was the Sound Lab, where you can go in and play instruments, play with mixers, samplers, beat match, etc. If you want, you can record it all and take home a CD. I played a fair bit with the turntables and the samplers, as they seemed the least popular (there was an angst of teens on a school trip who were all over the guitars/drums/keyboards), and learned I actually do pretty well on the beat-matching – I averaged being 0.1 – 0.5 beats off, which I thought was pretty decent. Of course, give me real records rather than the fake ‘pads’ and I’m sure it’ll be very different. The sampler I had less success with, but managed to make some impressively horrific sounds 🙂 But then it was overrun by kids and teens and I left to go get robbed.