Museum of Pop Culture
The Museum of Pop Culture began as a Jimi Hendrix-only museum (Seattle was Jimi's home town). But it quickly grew to embrace all of rock 'n' roll, rebranding itself the Experience Music Project, with a vast collection of everything from Michael Jackson's original Moonwalk jacket to a sheet of Owsley blotter acid (lick-proof behind plexiglass) to a DEVO flower pot hat.
A further broadening of scope into the Museum of Pop Culture in 2016 threatened to obscure its origins, but even non-rock lovers can appreciate its trippy exterior, which was created from a model made by cutting up a bunch of electric guitars and gluing them together. Inside, a guitar tornado sculpture spirals to the ceiling, while robot fingers continuously tap barely audible tunes on its hundreds of strings. The sculptor has to come back once a year to tune every one of them.
There's still more Jimi stuff here than anywhere else on earth. A room of frequently-rotated exhibits includes his little book of phone numbers (open to Sly Stone's) and splintered shards from the three most famous guitars that he smashed. One of his gaudy, sweat-stained stage outfits was on prominent display when we visited, possibly a future source of "Resurrect Jimi" DNA.
Participation is encouraged. Visitors can make their own music in "Sound Lab," a leveled-playing-field recording studio with instruments that compensate for lack of ability. Rock theatrics can be experienced "On Stage," where wannabes create a band name ("The Chocolate Starfish"), pick a song from a list ("I Love Rock and Roll"), and then buy a photo or DVD of themselves strutting and jumping in front of a video of 7,000 screaming fans.