You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

British invasion archived at museum

Interactive exhibition lets visitors play rock star

Just how did British pop get from the Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys? That’s what the new British Music Experience aims to answer.

Housed inside London entertainment complex the O2 (in what used to be the Millennium Dome), the BME leads visitors through generations of British music, from postwar to the present, in a permanent exhibition that opened March 9.

On display are iconic pieces of memorabilia such as David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust getup and Sex Pistols tour posters.

However, much of the BME is focused on getting visitors to live out their rock-star dreams in the Gibson studio outfitted with Gibson guitars, Baldwin pianos and Slingerland drums — though “No ‘Stairway to Heaven’ allowed,” BME’s website warns playfully.

“The whole point of the BME is not just about looking at artifacts like costumes and instruments behind glass cases,” says assistant curator Sarah Clarke. “The idea is that you can really explore styles and artists by hearing music and watching videos.”

Instead of a traditional paper ticket, visitors receive a

computer-chip-implanted “Smarticket” allowing them to access interactive elements onsite and to log onto British-

musicexperience.com at home and download their own studio noodlings, access three free iTunes U.K. tracks and learn more about the BME archive.

Part of the BME’s inspiration came from American exhibitions like Seattle’s Experience Music Project, the Grammy Museum in L.A. and Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In fact, the BME’s executive curator, Bob Santelli, worked on the Cleveland and L.A. projects.

Ranging from skiffle to punk to urban, with stops at blues, rock and reggae, the BME is already attracting visitors of all ages. “It’s really popular with families — the kids like the interactivity, and the parents get to relive the old favorites of their youth,” Clarke says. “There’s something for everyone.”

More Scene

  • Tiffany Haddish

    MTV Movie and TV Awards: 10 Standout Moments

    Just how did British pop get from the Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys? That’s what the new British Music Experience aims to answer. Housed inside London entertainment complex the O2 (in what used to be the Millennium Dome), the BME leads visitors through generations of British music, from postwar to the present, in a permanent […]

  • Michael B. Jordan

    'Black Panther,' 'Stranger Things' Reign at 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards (Full List)

    Just how did British pop get from the Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys? That’s what the new British Music Experience aims to answer. Housed inside London entertainment complex the O2 (in what used to be the Millennium Dome), the BME leads visitors through generations of British music, from postwar to the present, in a permanent […]

  • Brandon Flynn, Timothy Granaderos, Alisha Boe,

    Alisha Boe Says Brock Turner Case Was Her 'Bible' for '13 Reasons Why' Season 2

    Just how did British pop get from the Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys? That’s what the new British Music Experience aims to answer. Housed inside London entertainment complex the O2 (in what used to be the Millennium Dome), the BME leads visitors through generations of British music, from postwar to the present, in a permanent […]

  • Yara ShahidiMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    Yara Shahidi, Noah Schnapp, More Talk the Dangers of Social Media at MTV Awards

    Just how did British pop get from the Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys? That’s what the new British Music Experience aims to answer. Housed inside London entertainment complex the O2 (in what used to be the Millennium Dome), the BME leads visitors through generations of British music, from postwar to the present, in a permanent […]

  • A Night in the Writers' Room

    Parity Takes Center Stage at Variety's 'A Night in the Writers' Room' Drama Panel

    Just how did British pop get from the Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys? That’s what the new British Music Experience aims to answer. Housed inside London entertainment complex the O2 (in what used to be the Millennium Dome), the BME leads visitors through generations of British music, from postwar to the present, in a permanent […]

  • American Black Film Festival opening night

    Trevor Jackson Was Originally Told He Was 'Too Young' to Star in 'Superfly' Remake

    Just how did British pop get from the Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys? That’s what the new British Music Experience aims to answer. Housed inside London entertainment complex the O2 (in what used to be the Millennium Dome), the BME leads visitors through generations of British music, from postwar to the present, in a permanent […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content