MoPOP’s ‘Pearl Jam: Home and Away’ exhibit is an intimate walk through Seattle icons’ history

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MoPOP’s “Pearl Jam: Home and Away” exhibit opens Aug. 11, capping a week of events around the band’s first Seattle shows in five years. (Michael Rietmulder / The Seattle Times)

The museum keeps Pearl Jam mania going after the Home Shows with a new exhibition chronicling the band's rise from playing Seattle bars to sold-out stadiums.

Exhibition review

Pearl Jam faithful who didn’t get their fix during (or tickets to) the Home Shows can burrow into the annals of the band’s history with a vibrant new MoPOP exhibition. Partnering with Pearl Jam archivist and videographer Kevin Shuss, “Pearl Jam: Home and Away”  (opening Saturday, Aug. 11) culls 200-plus artifacts, focusing on tour items and other memorabilia from the band’s warehouse. It’s an intimate walk through Pearl Jam’s roughly 30-year journey from its fabled precursor bands to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with all the smashed guitar fragments, original lyric sheets and Jeff Ament’s colorful headwear choices along the way.

It’s a dreamland for superfans, though the significance of some pieces like an old four-track used to record the “Momma-Son” demo might be lost on casual fans unaware that that tape got a San Diego surfer named Eddie Vedder into the band. Still, Pearl Jam lovers of all levels can geek out over past fliers that now look like fantasy lineups, a handwritten congratulatory note from President Obama to his “friend” Eddie or the old RKCNDY and The Off Ramp (where Pearl Jam played its first show) signs, which ought to bring a nostalgic tear to a few Seattleites’ eyes.

If there’s a centerpiece to a collection this rich, it’s easily the towering bronze statue of Andrew Wood that Ament commissioned of his fallen Mother Love Bone mate, a heartfelt tribute made by local sculptor Mark Walker.

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“Pearl Jam: Home and Away” exhibition, Aug. 11 through early 2019; MoPOP, 325 Fifth Ave. N., Seattle; included with general admission to the museum ($17-$28); 206-770-2700, mopop.org

Michael Rietmulder: or mrietmulder@seattletimes.com. . Michael Rietmulder is the Seattle Times music writer.