Lonely Planet Writer

Boldly going where no museum... Seattle museum celebrates half a century of Star Trek

It’s fifty years since Star Trek first graced American television screens, and a Seattle museum is celebrating with a commemorative exhibition. ‘Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds’ opened at the Seattle EMP museum at the weekend.

Shirts and a model from Star Trek are seen on display at The Science Fiction Museum
Shirts and a model from Star Trek . Image by Getty

The exhibition features more than one hundred items that will have Trekkies waxing lyrical about one of the screen’s most enduring shows.

Items on display include a uniform worn by every Star Trek captain, including one worn by Benedict Cumberbatch in the forthcoming feature film Star Trek Beyond. Other exhibits include set pieces from the original series like Captain Kirk’s command chair and the navigation console (on public display for the first time), the 6-foot U.S.S. Enterprise filming model from Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as one of only two phasers still in existence from the original series. Visitors can put themselves in a scene from The Wrath of Khan, crawl through a Jeffries Tube, create their own storyline or step into a Borg regeneration station.

More than a mere collection of artefacts, the exhibition demonstrates the franchise’s ethical themes, cultural influence and extraordinary longevity, despite its initially modest ratings. “Star Trek has reflected our concerns and delights for five decades and shows no sign of stopping,” curator Brooks Peck told the website do206.com.  “It’s today’s mythology, and its heroes – Kirk, Uhura, Picard, Yar – will be remembered and recast for centuries.”

one use only
Star Trek: The Motion Picture” cast from 1979 Image by Getty

Seattle’s non-profit EMP Museum is dedicated to science fiction and contemporary popular culture. It’s located on the campus of Seattle Center, adjacent to the Space Needle and the Seattle Center Monorail, in a distinctive Frank Gehry-designed building. Admission to the museum is US$22, and entry into ‘Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds’ is an additional $5.