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Boldly Go: You Don’t Have to Be a Trekkie to Love the EMP’s New Exhibit

'Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds' offers props, phasers and plenty more from 50 years in space

Published on: May 23, 2016

The USS Enterprise (aka the mothership) | Photo credit: Brady Harvey, EMP Museum

Have you ever wondered what billionaire Paul Allen’s house looks like? Visit the EMP Museum's latest exhibit, Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds, and you’ll get a pretty good idea. Each time I saw something cool, I’d look at the informational plaque to see “Property of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.”

And Paul? He’s got good taste. Even an ensign like myself went a little ga-ga for all the sci-fi splendor before me (and the dedicated Trekkies I went with were even more thrilled).

View from the second floor of "Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds" | Photo credit: Brady Harvey, EMP Museum

Make it so

The exhibit, which opened May 21 and runs through February 27, 2017, celebrates 50 years of the final frontier. I expected costumes, props and memorabilia — all of which Exploring New Worlds has in spades. What I didn’t expect, and was happy to see, was the exhibit’s nod to what was happening in the world outside the Enterprise.

Did you know, for instance, that Lucille Ball is the reason Star Trek ever made it on air? Or that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Trekkie? Or that the Klingon alien race loosely represented the U.S.S.R.? You’ll learn this and more.

There’s even an entire wall dedicated to the timelines of the many TV series, animated show and more recent movies, all impressingly compiled by students at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts and, I presume, headed directly to Paul Allen’s house at the close of the exhibit.


Trivia aside, “Exploring New Worlds” has plenty to offer the littlest Starfleet officers. Pose for your very own “Help, Mom! I’m turning into a Borg” photo, make your best Kirk “KHAAAAAN!!!” face and peek behind a corner near the Tribble case for a "story wall” where your crew can create the plot of a custom Star Trek episode.

Upstairs, expect a bit of a backup crowd-wise. A large TV area playing the customary interviews and archival footage butts up to the crown jewel of the exhibit: the Transporter Simulator. After waiting in line (and there will be a line), Scotty beams you and your co-stars to an alien planet where you’ll channel your inner Shatner as the camera rolls. Expert level: Have a member of your party film the green screen action as it plays out on the screen for an easy-to-share final cut.

The bridge of the USS Enterprise | Photo credit: Brady Harvey, EMP Museum

I’m a parent, not a movie star!

If this all sounds too lights, camera, action for your family, check out the tables and chairs outside the exhibit entrance for “Star Trek” coloring pages, crayons and, most importantly, chairs. Or browse the pop-up gift store, which has an impressive cache of “Trek” treasure. (Magnets! Puzzles! Klingon dictionaries!)

One note: For the more excitable Trekkies in your group, watch out for the disembodied Data head on the second floor. There’s no gore but the sight of a head — even an android’s — might provide fodder for nightmares.

All told, Exploring New Worlds does just that. It gives the most ardent of fans plenty to geek out over while warmly welcoming the less “Trek” inclined and showing them a world they can’t wait to explore.

ParentMap writers sometimes receive tickets, entrances and stays at press rate. All our content is independent and reviews are our own opinions.

If you go…

Where: EMP Museum, 325 5th Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109

Dates: Runs through February 17, 2017

Admission: The Star Trek exhibit is an additional $5 after regular EMP admission price; buy online for discount. Adult (18–64), $27 online, $30 at box office; senior (65+) and student (with I.D.), $27; military (with I.D.); $24; youth, (5–17), $21; children (4 and under), free. Regular museum admission included in the ticket price. Buy tickets online here.

Museum hours: Winter hours (10 a.m.–5 p.m.) end May 26. Summer hours (May 27 through September 5), 10 a.m.–7 p.m. daily.

Age: Most likely of interest to children 5 and older.

Prepare: Watching an episode or two of Star Trek couldn't hurt but the exhibit does a good job of providing context for even the most obscure of displays.


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