Your Guide to Seattle’s New Hello Kitty Exhibit

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Look out parents, your cutie pie’s about to get some competition in the adorable department. EMP welcomes the reigning queen of cute, Hello Kitty, and her sweet retrospective, Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, to the museum this month. Read on for an exhibit sneak peek and the need-to-know details about add-ons that will totally trick out your Kitty experience. Me-yow!

Hello Kitty

photo: Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival

A Cat-astic Retrospective
It’s debatable whether Sanrio knew the impact Hello Kitty would have when she was first introduced her to the world over 40 years ago. But one thing’s for sure, she’s built up quite a following these last four decades. Whether it’s you, your sidekick or the both of you that can’t get enough Kitty, Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty is one exhibit you won’t want to miss. It’s the first large-scale, retrospective featuring the pop culture icon in the States. And when it debuted in Los Angeles about this time last year, let’s just say records were broken, as people traveled from all over the world to gush over the artifacts on display.

Hello Kitty Phone c1976

photo: Japanese American National Museum

We don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but here’s a tiny peek of what you’ll see as you wander the exhibit at EMP. Fan families can expect to see 40 years worth of plushies on display, some you might even recognize from your own childhood. Plus, plenty of rare and vintage pieces you won’t find anywhere else, like Hello Kitty’s first telephone, a sweet Kitty robot and those adorable stationary items we’re guessing you collected as a kid. You know, the ones that make you want to sit down and write a note to you bestie to pass in class. Expect to see some fabu Sanrio-inspired fashion too. And Lady Gaga’s glorious Kitty couture and Katy Perry’s diamond Kitty bling will be on display as well.

Lady Gaga Hello Kitty Dress

photo: Markus + Indrani, styled by GK Reid

The other arm of the exhibit explores Hello Kitty’s influence on pop culture through art. With over 40 mixed media pieces on display, you and your petit Picasso can marvel at the way Hello Kitty has inspired others and bridged cultures using her super cute powers for decades. Gary Baseman, Kazuki Takamatsu and kozyndan are a few of the artists whose works you’ll see. Get inspired by these works and then go home to create some of your own fan art with your mini Monet!

Buff Monster Hello Kitty Exhibit

photo: Buff Monster

A Purr-fect Party
To welcome the reigning queen of supercute to her new home, EMP will kick off the exhibit with an Opening Party on November 13 from 7 p.m. to midnight. It’s an all ages event with an activities list that reads like a KittyCon best-of playlist. Games, trivia, cuteness manis by Julep, and kawaii (cute) crafts like origami and jewelry making are only a few of the stations you should stop by when you’re there. Be sure to dress the part so you can participate in the Supercute Fashion Parade, and bring a little something to leave behind in the Time After Time Capsule, designed by artist Sebastian Masuda. Crank up the cuteness factor with your sidekick or grab the gals (or guys!) for an MNO like no other. Tickets are $25 for adults ($20 for members); $10 for kids ages 5-17; and those under 4 are free. Order tickets online before heading over.

Hello Kitty mini cakes courtesy Sanrio

photo: Sanrio 

Can’t-Miss Cat Food
If you just can’t get enough Kitty, you’ve got to check out the Hello Kitty Café truck. This traveling homage to the bow-ified deity herself will be parked outside EMP on Nov. 14 and 15, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., serving up the sweetest treats in town. Alongside expertly decorated Kitty-themed cookies, cakes and confections, fans will also find the cutest merch around. As for the wait, we’re guessing it’ll be a long one, so pack some distractions for your mini or split parent duty in two: one waits while the other wanders the exhibit. It’s worth the team approach. Break!

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck courtesy Sanrio

 photo: courtesy Sanrio

More to See
After making the rounds on the “cat-walk,” be sure to check out the other exciting exhibits on display at the museum right now. We’ve mapped out a fantastic guide to maximize playtime at EMP. Check it out!

EMP Musuem
325 5th Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa 98109

Dates: Nov. 14, 2015 – May 15, 2016
Time: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $25/Adults ($22 if purchased online); $16/Youth (5-17); 4 & under and members Free; exhibit included with price of admission

Do you plan to visit the new Hello Kitty exhibit? Tell us in the Comments below!

— Allison Sutcliffe