Pop Culture-Themed Museums

With the cost and availability of world-class art being beyond the budgets of most cities, and with most key historic themes already exploited by museums, cities have begun to look to other themes to develop museums. Pop culture themes, for example, have proven to be popular with tourists and local patrons.

The following are popular pop culture-themed museums:

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (Nashville, TN; www.countrymusichalloffame.com)

• The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum preserves the evolving history and traditions of country music. The museum recently unveiled a $100 million expansion, doubling its size to 350,000 sq. ft. of galleries, archival storage, education classrooms, retail stores, and special event space. Approximately 250,000 people visit the museum annually.


EMP Museum (Seattle, WA; www.empmuseum.org)

• EMP Museum, formerly known as Experience Music Project, is dedicated to contemporary popular culture. EMP Museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000 and is housed in a building designed by Frank O. Gehry. Approximately 400,000 people visit the EMP Museum annually.

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (Baltimore, MD; www.geppismuseum.com)

• Privately owned Geppi’s Entertainment Museum chronicles the history of pop culture in America from the 17th century to today as made popular in newspapers, magazines, comic blogs, movies, television, radio, and video games. It features a large and varied collection of pop culture memorabilia, including movie posters, toys, buttons, badges, cereal boxes, trading cards, dolls, figurines, and many other items.

Newseum (Washington, DC; www.newseum.org)

• The Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism, is located in downtown Washington. The original Newseum, located in Arlington, closed in 2002 and reopened at its present location in 2008. The museum drew more than 2.25 million visitors during its first five years of operation at the new location.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland, OH; www.rockhall.com)

• The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers, and others who have, in some major way, influenced the music industry. Since opening in 1995, the Rock Hall has hosted more than 8.5 million visitors and has had a cumulative economic impact to Cleveland estimated at more than $1.8 billion. Approximately 400,000 people visit the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame annually.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music (Memphis, TN; www.staxmuseum.com)

• Located in the former studios of Stax Records, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music opened in 2003. The 17,000 sq. ft. museum houses more than 2,000 videos, films, photographs, original instruments used to record Stax hits, stage costumes, interactive exhibits, and other items of memorabilia. Approximately 100,000 people visit the museum annually.

The Paley Center For Media (New York, NY; www.paleycenter.org)

• Formerly the Museum of Television and Radio, Paley Center is a not-for-profit organization funded to collect and preserve television and radio programs and to make these programs available to the public. The museum first opened in Manhattan in 1991; a second location opened in 1996 in Los Angeles. More than

150,000 programs are in its collection.

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