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June 1, 2018

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A Museum of Pop Culture in NYC

Chris McGowan
Board of Directors, Vice President—MoPOP & President of Vulcan Arts + Entertainment

Today we are very happy to announce we are exploring opening a second Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in New York City – the first museum in the City to celebrate creativity in all forms of popular culture, from music, film, and theater to fashion, gaming, and comic books. At our founder Paul G. Allen’s request, we have acquired a potential site in midtown’s B. Altman & Co. building and have been working with the New York artistic, civic and government communities, architects and museum designers to see how we might create a museum that serves and reflects this cultural capital.

MoPOP NYC purchased the space from the New York Public Library (NYPL), which had already planned to consolidate this branch. We will be leasing it back to NYPL at no cost until construction begins on the new museum. As part of our design process, we have filed an application with the Landmarks Preservation Commission of New York City to move the building’s entrance from 5th Avenue to 34th Street to improve pedestrian flow outside the museum. MoPOP NYC is committed to working with area stakeholders throughout this process to create a true partnership and ensure a responsible entry into the community.

Our motivation for MoPOP in New York City will be the same as MoPOP in Seattle: inspiring multigenerational audiences through the popular culture of our time. New York City is the center of American culture and MoPOP’s possible expansion presents a unique opportunity for future generations of New York City creators from all five boroughs to learn from the pioneers that preceded them.

We are committed to creating something profoundly new, immersive and exciting, consistent with the diverse and creative dynamism of New York. We are working now with a breadth of local stakeholders to learn how MoPOP NYC might serve as a sustainable engine of creative expression, a celebration of popular culture, and an educational resource to all five boroughs.

Over the past 18 years, visitors have discovered their passions through life-changing creative experiences at MoPOP in Seattle. Local students and educators explore their own creative process and strengthened their critical thinking skills through MoPOP’s education programs, which emphasize hands-on arts-integrated learning. We are proud to serve more than 150,000 students and youth each year through these opportunities in Seattle, and we are already in conversation with local educators in NYC to learn more about how we could serve their students.

“My students have benefited tremendously from participating in the MoPOP STAR Program & the educational workshops offered at the museum. My students loved the hands-on aspects of the classes and particularly enjoyed learning about and experimenting with the guitar effects pedals in the ‘Jimi Hendrix, Guitar Genius’ Workshop. The educational programs offered at MoPOP offer engaging and fun experiences that promote teamwork and collaboration amongst students while developing their musical skills.” Darrin Cook, Music Department, Skyline High School.

In thinking about how MoPOP NYC could reflect the unique cultural and artistic vibrancy of New York, we have been fortunate to work with a number of important New York artists and institutions. They have been enthusiastic in their endorsement of our vision and goals.

“The Morgan is delighted to welcome the Museum of Pop Culture to the neighborhood," said Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library & Museum. "MoPOP's arrival strengthens the growing vibrancy of Murray Hill's cultural landscape and brings a fresh voice to New York City's engagement with contemporary culture."

"For decades, the iconic B. Altman Building has been a beacon of education and opportunity for the people of New York City, operating as a beloved library that continues to strengthen New Yorkers and their communities. We are confident that MoPOP NYC will continue that tradition when it takes over the space....inspiring and educating visitors with educational programs and opening doors of opportunity to all people." Iris Weinshall, Chief Operation Officer, New York Public Library. We look forward to continuing to work with these advisors, and with the community, to bring a unique addition to New York’s culture and artistic scene that will chronicle contemporary culture and inspire future generations of creators.

For people eager to learn more about our Seattle museum’s commitment to education and artistic expression, you can find more information HERE. We will be publishing more information as our planning process moves forward and as we engage with communities throughout New York city.

To learn more about MoPOP Seattle’s exhibitions and educational programming, visit

To learn more about MoPOP NYC, click HERE.