Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Charter Member

So I dragged Eric away from his grading (if any of his students are reading this, I apologize for slowing him down) and forced him to attend the Gala premiere opening of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. This was the opening for charter members only, the regular opening is on Friday.

When we got there, I found out that my membership is at the "Hive Mind" level, which is the family level. Doesn't make much of a difference, since Eric and I have no children. However, I'll be a charter member no matter what.

The layout of the museum is two exhibit levels and a reception area. We started by going up to the reception area to grab a little food. It was good stuff, as was only to be expected by a catered event in a Paul Allen financed building. We intended to go up to the mezzanine, but the elevator attendant misunderstood Eric and took us to the first floor instead. So we started looking at the exhibits.

We exited the elevator right in front of "The Interplanetary Lounge", but I was so overwhelmed by everything that we walked past it to "Baggage Claim" before getting our bearings. The main piece in "Baggage Claim" is the Alien Queen, and I gaped a little before moving on to "Metal or Mortal", a section about robots and androids that had both R2-D2 and Twiki in a jam-packed case. We then stopped for a short visit at "The Interplanetary Lounge" before moving on.

The next few stops went so fast I zoned, but since I have a full membership I can go back and visit again. With that knowledge, Eric and I went through the exhibits fairly quickly. We plan to visit again later and spend more than a mere hour there. Anyway, we waltzed through the "Fantastic Voyages/Brave New Worlds" sections, then went back to "Them!", which is where we started. We ran into some friends who told us that there was a Fun Gun from the Doctor Who story "The Happiness Patrol" in "The Armory", so we ventured back into that section to look at it.

We ran into another friend near the Fun Gun, and then we wandered up to the "Homeworld" section (where most people actually started), and looked at the main exhibits.

Ok, overall first impressions: Crowded, but not too crowded. Literally every time you turned around, there was something new to look at. I was suffering from "oooooh! Shiny thing!" syndrome, big-time. The "Spacedock" and "Cities of Tomorrow" exhibits were absolutely stunning visually. As Eric noted, the "Spacedock" exhibit had the Planet Express from Futurama show up as one of the ships going through, among nearly every other one I could think of (except for the TARDIS). In the center of "Homeworld" was a video globe, and it was breathtaking to watch. I was particularly thrilled when it showed both Jupiter and the Moon. It was really cool. There was fanfic in the "Science Fiction Community" section. Wow.

Disappointments. Not many... There was as strong a focus on books and magazines as on TV and movies, but comic books were underrepresented. I think the only mention of comic books was in the Timeline. Not much by way of Doctor Who, either... but then, there really wasn't much from any one show or movie over any other. Still, it was a bit of a shock to not see the TARDIS anywhere, not even in the time travel section. The focus was very much on Science Fiction, not on Fantasy at all, which meant no Wizard of Oz stuff.

Let's see... what else? Ah yes. There was an interactive survey in the lobby which hubby filled out with prompts from me. The most requested feature was more interactive exhibits. The store area was laid out, but hasn't been stocked yet. It will no doubt be ready for the real grand opening on Friday.

And the Experience Music Project building is still the ugliest building in Seattle, even if what's inside it is pretty cool.