Jasen Emmons, EMP's director of curatorial affairs, said one of the longest processes was finding some of the original artifacts featured in the exhibit.
Jasen Emmons, EMP’s director of curatorial affairs, said one of the longest processes was finding some of the original artifacts featured in the exhibit.

Maybe you’re an aficionado who has poured endlessly over Tolkien symbolism, or just a 90s kid who fondly remembers “Xena: Warrior Princess.” Or, maybe you stumbled on to “Game of Thrones” one day on Netflix and haven’t missed anything since.

Whether it’s an old Disney movie or Dungeons and Dragons, most everyone has a favorite fantasy story. It’s an avenue of pop culture we’re all familiar with, whether we realize it or not.

The latest exhibition at the Experience Music Project Museum (EMP), Fantasy: World of Myth and Magic illustrates the far-reaching scope of the fantasy story throughout recent history. Showcasing artifacts from fantasy films, novels, and television shows, the exhibit looks at the archetypal figures and meticulously constructed worlds that make famous stories timeless.

After over a year of planning, building and designing, the exhibit will open this Saturday. We got a sneak peek of the action and have some photos to share below. Some items, like the featured pages from Tolkien’s original manuscripts, cannot be photographed. Of course, for the aficionados out there, those things may be better left to the naked eye, anyway.

EMP curator Brooks Peck tests out an interactive feature in the exhibit's first room. The feature explores the fantasy genre's archetypes as they apply to famous stories.
EMP curator Brooks Peck tests out an interactive feature in the exhibit’s first room. The feature explores the fantasy genre’s archetypes as they apply to famous stories.
AR EMP peterpan
Of several interactive features of the exhibit, this screen allows viewers to look through century-old children’s letters written to fantasy characters like Peter Pan.

AR EMP DesignWEB

Emmons thought one of the most exciting artifacts for viewers would be Princess Buttercup's original wedding gown from Princess Bride.
Emmons thought one of the most exciting artifacts for viewers would be Princess Buttercup’s original wedding gown from Princess Bride.
The exhibit features original pages from the manuscripts of fantasy authors like Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin.
The exhibit features original pages from the manuscripts of fantasy authors like Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin.
The exhibit's first room features a mix of graphic work ups and iconic clothing from various iconic fantasy titles.
The exhibit’s first room features a mix of graphic work ups and iconic clothing from various iconic fantasy titles.
Created exclusively for the exhibit, the dragon tail hangs out from prison bars in one area of the exhibit. The EMP just finished a naming contest for the dragon. "Adalinda" was the final decision.
Created exclusively for the exhibit, the dragon tail hangs out from prison bars in one area of the exhibit. The EMP just finished a naming contest for the dragon. “Adalinda” was the final decision.
The headpiece worn by Tilda Swinton in the cinematic rendition of C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia."
The headpiece worn by Tilda Swinton in the cinematic rendition of C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
The iconic Xena costume worn by Lucy Lawless in the 90s TV show, "Xena: Warrior Princess."
The iconic Xena costume worn by Lucy Lawless in the 90s TV show, “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
In another interactive feature of the exhibit, viewers can create a map to their own fantasy world.
In another interactive feature of the exhibit, viewers can create a map to their own fantasy world.

 

Designed by local artists at Lead Pen Designs, a metal firefly hangs over the exhibit. The two eyes of the firefly will feature a short video about the importance of good and evil in fantasy stories.
Designed by local artists at Lead Pen Designs, a metal firefly hangs over the exhibit. The two eyes of the firefly will feature a short video about the importance of good and evil in fantasy stories.
In another feature designed exclusively for the exhibit by Lead Pen, 50,000 pieces of polished zinc were glued down to create a huge metal tree in the center of the exhibit. Emmons said the forest is a central feature of many constructed fantasy worlds, making the metal tree a unique and relevant addition to the exhibit's design.
In another feature designed exclusively for the exhibit by Lead Pen, 50,000 pieces of polished zinc were glued down to create a huge metal tree in the center of the exhibit. Emmons said the forest is a central feature of many constructed fantasy worlds, making the metal tree a unique and relevant addition to the exhibit’s design.

 

 

Previously on GeekWire: A gamer’s dream: ‘The Art of Video Games’ debuts Friday at the EMP

Alisa Reznick is a University of Washington student working as an editorial intern at GeekWire this quarter. Reach her at alisa@geekwire.com or on Twitter @AlisaReznick.

Comments

  • MT

    Amongst the various artifacts available for inspection I noted the Warrior Princess’s costume is on display. Is this the one from the Te Papa museum in Wellington New Zealand? I would add your article says ‘fondly remembered from the 90’s’. Xena has a whole new generation of fans derived from the DVD’s of the series and rather than being fondly remembered is very much alive in the minds of hundred of thousands who are campaigning to bring her back through a XWP movie. See 2011 Xena Movie Campaign on Facebook. Good luck with your exhibition.

  • Kryss K.

    What a paradise. So happy to see the Xena Princess’s costume !

  • friend of the artist

    lead pencil design gave a local artist named Travis Leonard a very conceptual drawing of a dragonfly. lacking all dimension and without specs the drawing can’t really be deamed ‘design,’ it was practically a stick figure dragon fly. Travis spent two weeks studying the exoskeletal makeup of dragonflies, spent another week designing every part of the dragonfly piece by piece with specs for each drawing. because of time limitations he then sent his drawings off to be cut piece by exoskeletal piece whereupon travis spent 3 months hammering out the metal giving dimension to each piece, then planishing each piece and finally welding together the dragonfly of his design of which there was no relation to the non dimensional stick figure drawing by lead pencil. just thought credit should go to the correct person.

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