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Into the Vault: Sub Pop Reception Desk

Sub Pop Reception Desk

Did you know just a small percentage of our collection is actually on display inside the Museum of Pop Culture? With more than 120,000 objects in our care, it becomes a little easier to understand why there can't be a place to publicly display each one of our artifacts at the same time. But just because a piece isn't currently on view at our nonprofit museum, doesn't mean it's not important to popular culture. A lot of dedicated time, effort, and attention goes into maintaining not only what you see inside our walls at MoPOP, but also into what you may not have seen inside of our artifact vault. *cue ominous music*

To celebrate 20 years of MoPOP, we're taking visitors Into the Vault in 2020, highlighting artifacts from our broad collection and showcasing their place in popular culture. Sounds pretty fun, right? We thought so too. Without further ado, we welcome you to our first installment of Into the Vault.

What is it?

The reception desk for Sub Pop, donated by rock photographer Charles Peterson to the Seattle record label in the late 1980s and now part of the MoPOP Permanent Collection.

Why's it important?

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Peterson and Sub Pop played significant roles in the Seattle music scene. Peterson captured images from some of the town's most memorable live performances, including its most popular grunge bands Nirvana, Mudhoney, L7, Soundgarden, and more. Sub Pop, meanwhile, was the label behind the earliest releases from those same bands, and quickly became the most prominent label in the Seattle area at the time.

Fun Facts

  • The desk appeared in Hype!, a documentary exploring the roots of the grunge scene in the Pacific Northwest. 
  • The many stickers that litter the desk are from bands on the Sub Pop label, plus other artists that visited its headquarters. 
  • Former Sub Pop receptionist and current label CEO Megan Jasper, who's perhaps most well known for the secret language of grunge she relayed to the New York Times, is responsible for the (somewhat inappropriate) phrases written on the desk. We won't call them out, but which ones can you spot?

MoPOP Sub Pop Desk

MoPOP Sub Pop Desk

MoPOP Sub Pop Desk

Does our Sub Pop reception desk leave you wanting to learn more about Seattle's up-and-coming music scene? Check out Sound Off!, MoPOP's annual music showcase for 21-and-under talent from around the Pacific Northwest.

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Into the Vault, Music, Nirvana, 20 Years of MoPOP

About the author

Tony Drovetto is MoPOP's Content Marketing Manager.