Microsoft’s co-founder, Paul Allen, established Museum of Pop Culture in 2000, Seattle. Since then, the museum has managed to preserve over 80,000 historic artifacts that consist of musical instruments, photographs, Movie and TV show props and more. The collection includes Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 guitar, Kurt Cobain’s popular gray button-down sweater, and Elton John’s snakeskin platform heel shoes. The Museum has secured the items in a physical vault that scholars, journalists and researchers have access for study.
Museum of Pop Culture, widely known as ‘MoPOP’, was originally started as an Experience Music Project. It now holds thousands of artifacts and mostly has a music-related collection. The museum admits to having space for only one tenth of 1% of the collection for display. Due to this restriction, MoPOP is initiating to build an online version of a vault. The online vault will allow a full fledged display of pop culture resources without limitations. The museum previously had a “digital lab”, which failed and was later discarded.
MoPOP’s curatorial director, Jacob McMurray, tells GeekWire that they’ve wanted this online vault for a very long time. “Our purview as a museum has broadened quite a bit beyond music and we’re trying to make sure that the collection reflects what we do and also brings it up to the present,” McMurray said.
MoPOP tried to have an online collection nearly 3 years ago but failed due to staff and budget limitations. McMurry reveals that they’re aiming to showcase items from six sub-categories in the collection. His fellow curators have picked out 30 to 50 objects from the categories, and have written a small description about the items. They then photograph the objects and use them for their online vault.
At present, the online vault collection features 213 items. A few items take up a large space in the physical vault. Through the online vault collection, it takes minimal space, like the Chevrolet Beauville tour van, used by the band Soundgarden.
Some of the other famous items kept in the Museum are – Black Wool Felt Hat Worn by Jimi Hendrix, Sequinned Jacket Worn by Nancy Wilson, Handwritten Note from Kurt Cobain to Tam Ohrmund, Proof Print for Nirvana’s “Nevermind” Cover Artwork, Stage Boots Worn by Paul Stanley of KISS in 1996 and Stage Performance Costume Worn by Elton John.