Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

"Axes" and aliens at the Experience Music Project

by Johanna Blume | Jun 19, 2012
So for those of you who don’t know, next spring we’ll be unveiling a new special exhibit about guitars in the American West. The exhibit team is already hard at work researching content for the exhibit. Part of that involves seeking out potential guitars to feature in the show. Earlier this month, I made the trek to Seattle, Washington, to visit the Experience Music Project (EMP) and check out their exhibits and collection. As much as I’ve wanted to see the EMP, and as many times as I’ve been to Seattle, I had never had a chance to visit until now. I was blown away.

The EMP has an impressive collection of guitars. It covers more than 150 years of guitar building innovation, and features many instruments previously played or owned by some of the greatest players in history. Since the Eiteljorg Museum doesn’t collect guitars, we have to look elsewhere for pieces to feature in our upcoming exhibit. That process involves identifying key collections around the country, evaluating those collections for specific pieces of interest to us, and then going through the lending institution’s loan process. Of course, these institutions have exhibit needs of their own, so it’s always possible that not every guitar that is of interest to us will actually be available for us to borrow. So, no promises that you’ll see any of the guitars below in our exhibit next year, but they were just too cool not to show you.

We’re hopeful we’ll have at least one of Kurt Cobain’s guitars. This is the Blue Fender Mustang that he played on the 1993-1994 In Utero tour. The exhibit will take a broad view of guitars in the American West, covering a wide spectrum of types of guitars, genres, players, and geography.

1953 Paul Bigsby custom guitar made for bandleader, Hezzy Hall. 

1984 custom Kramer played by Eddie Van Halen.

Not a guitar, but with "Prometheus" opening recently and if we’ve got any Ridley Scott fans out there... I give you the Xenomorph from the 1979 film Alien, designed by H.R. Giger. (The EMP also houses the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and Museum.)

All in all, it was an excellent visit. The EMP staff was so helpful, and things are looking great for our exhibit. Stay tuned over the coming months for more details on the exhibit.

  Johanna Blume, assistant curator of Western Art


  1. 2 Tita 25 Jul
    Justin, thanks for poisntg these directions! I wanted to make one addition, in case it's not clear from the links:The entrance you are looking for is located on 81st Street, just off Central Park West.
  2. 1 buy more instagram followers 13 Jun
    The 1984 custom Kramer played by Eddie Van Halen is one of my favorite here.


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