A music and popular culture museum in Seattle is hoping to draw fans of the Oscar-winning film Avatar to its new exhibit.  The showcase at the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame opens on Saturday at noon, after a large opening event on Friday.

Director James Cameron, visual effects artist Richie Baneham, and actors from the movie including Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, and Laz Alonso will appear at Friday's event and host panels during Saturday's opening.

The exhibit, built by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, will explore how James Cameron brought Pandora and its inhabitants to the big screen with props and costumes as well as hands-on exploration of the creative process used to build the world in the science fiction movie.

The museum will be the first of its kind to showcase artwork and props from the blockbuster film.  Visitors will be able to use several interactive displays and try a virtual camera to see how the motion capture filming of actors fits in with the virtual world created on computers.

Another interactive exhibit allows visitors to become an actor under the direction of Cameron, using motion capture technology.  Participants can then post a copy of their video on YouTube.

EMP is open 10:00am to 7:00pm daily and is located in downtown Seattle.  There is no extra charge for the Avatar showcase, and the museum's other exhibitions include the recently opened Nirvana: Taking Punk the Masses, Battlestar Galactica, and Jimi Hendrix: An evolution of Sound.

If you can't make it to Seattle, the Avatar exhibit is expected to travel throughout the United States, Canada, and beyond once its run at EMP ends late in 2012.