Museum Merges Science, Fiction

Seattle Facility Aims to Educate and Entertain Sci-Fi Buffs

Listen: Paul Allen Discusses the Museum on 'Talk of the Nation/Science Friday'

Spacesuit pack and helmet worn by Leonard Nimoy as Spock

Spacesuit pack and helmet worn by Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1979. From the Paul Allen Family Collection hide caption

itoggle caption From the Paul Allen Family Collection
Experience Music Project building

The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame is co-located with Experience Music Project in the Frank Gehry-designed building in Seattle. © Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame™ Photo by Stanley Smith hide caption

itoggle caption © Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame™ Photo by Stanley Smith

A new science fiction museum has opened in Seattle as part of Paul Allen's high-tech Experience Music Project. The Microsoft billionaire, whose personal collection inspired the idea for a museum, hopes the facility attracts droves of sci-fi fans from around the galaxy.

"I was exposed to science fiction at an early age," Allen says. "I think... it's actually about science and where science is going to take humanity and culture in the future."

Visitors to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame find a dazzling maze of exhibits that blur the line between this world and the world of imagination, reports Jeremy Richards of member station KPLU.

Donna Shirley, the museum's director, is a jet-propulsion engineer and former manager of NASA's Mars Rover program. She says the museum hopes to educate visitors by contrasting science fiction and the reality of science.

But it's not all heavy stuff. Some of the exhibits are just plain cool: Captain Kirk's chair and console from Star Trek (complete with self-destruct mechanism), a Buck Rogers disintegrator pistol, or spacesuit gloves from NASA's Project Gemini.

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