Hendrix at Home

Discovering Hendrix at Handel & Hendrix in London

Post 10: Experience Music Project

Enthusiasm level: Getting pretty serious
Progress: Amazing
Quote: “Great hangin’ out with you”

EMP, space needle and spot the monorail that runs through the building

EMP, space needle and spot the monorail that runs through the building

Last October I took a trip to Seattle, birthplace of Jimi Hendrix. I went to visit the Experience Music Project (EMP) museum and was wonderfully looked after and shown around by the Senior Curator there Jacob McMurray. It was great to finally meet him after months of Skype calls and emails. Jacob has recently curated their fabulous Hear My Train A Comin’ Hendrix Hits London exhibition which charts Hendrix’s arrival in London in September 1966 until the Monterey performance in June 1967. The depth of the exhibition is phenonmenal and the amount and scope of information available quite breath taking. It was fascinating to look around but there was so much to see a morning could barely scrape the surface.

Hendrix poster in parking lot outside EMP

Hendrix poster in parking lot outside EMP

The Nirvana exhibition (a band about which I knew virtually nothing other than the naked swimming baby album cover), the fantasy film exhibition and the horror film exhibition alongside their permanent exhibits were equally compelling. After a couple of hours Jacob suggested returning to the administrative office for further discussion and to look at some of their extensive Hendrix collection. If the public face of the museum was not impressive enough the administrative BLOCK was, to get in the spirit of the country, awesome. As a museum professional I have seen a number of excellent back of house facilities. The British Library has very neat arrangements and the V&A’s racking is certainly not to be sniffed at. However I have to confess to being blown away by EMP’s incredible storage and conservation facilities, wonderful video archive and film editting suite. And when we reached their own dedicated wood and metal workshops I was running out of superlatives. They make their own Hendrix mannequines which match his measurements exactly so all the clothes of his that they have in their collection fit perfectly, various bespoke display stands, made to measure diadactics and interactives I can only dream of.

Approach to EMP

Approach to EMP

Given their knowledge, collection and incredible facilities I am completely humbled that EMP have agreed to be a major partner to us for our Hendrix exhibition and flat recreation. They have loaned exhibit items to us in the past and having their agreement to do so again on an ongoing basis for the future is vital. Their invaluable input is something that will benefit every visitor to the Hendrix flat here in Brook Street, London.

Wall of the Frank Gehry building housing EMP

Wall of the Frank Gehry building housing EMP

Sorry pictures of the outside only I am afraid I was way too distracted by the time I had gone through the door! http://www.empmuseum.org/


About Sarah Bardwell

Handel & Hendrix in London Trustee and leading the team that is reinstating, in the adjoining building, Jimi Hendrix's London flat to open to the public. Quirky twist of chance meant that baroque legend Handel lived at 25 Brook Street in the 18th century and that rock legend Hendrix lived next door in the 1960s.

4 comments on “Post 10: Experience Music Project

  1. Paul C
    17 February 2014

    Great report. Please, no mannequins in Jimi’s flat! I find they ruin most exhibitions, maybe it kills the ambience. Perhaps just hang his jacket (for example) over the back of a chair, so we the visitor get to imagine Jimi has just popped out to get a paper and some cigarettes, and could be returning any moment. Best regards Paul

    • Sarah Bardwell
      18 February 2014

      Don’t worry no mannequins in Jimi’s recreated bedroom I don’t think there will be room! We are certainly imagining that people will get the feeling he has just stepped outside. But in addition to the bedroom there is also going to be a dedicated Hendrix exhibition space and that may require a mannequin and the odd display case.

      • Paul C
        18 February 2014

        I knew we could count on you Sarah – cheers!

  2. Angela V
    17 February 2014

    I second that emotion

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