The new National Enquirer Live attraction isn’t shying away from its provocative source material.
The 20,000-square-foot museum attraction, opening Friday in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is hoping to give readers an inside look into the “stories behind the stories,” and that includes the outlet’s coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial and Princess Diana’s death, among others.
“It’s one of the most highly interactive museum attractions that’s ever opened,” said Rick Laney, a spokesperson for National Enquirer Live (stylized as National Enquirer Live!) “The thrust of it all is to tell the stories behind the stories that the National Enquirer covers.”
To that end, the attraction aims to guide guests through 15 separate galleries – many of which are described as “extremely interactive” – that focus on some of the tabloid’s most popular or controversial coverage, covering topics ranging from conspiracies and true crime to celebrity and politics.
“The most popular stories are, often, the ones where those topics meet,” Laney says.
The most controversial exhibits, at least ahead of the museum’s opening, certainly fit that bill. Amid galleries on aliens, Bigfoot and the moon landing (and subsequent moon-landing conspiracies), Laney confirms a Princess Diana exhibit in the “Royal’s Closet” area, as well as a recreation of the exterior porch at Nicole Brown Simpson’s home.
“The Princess Diana [exhibit] is just a small part of what’s called the Royal’s Closet,” says Laney, who describes the area as a “massive closet in an upscale home” filled with recreations of outfits worn by the royals. As guests browse those wardrobes, screens are automatically prompted to share more information about the significance of the garments, or where they were worn.
And at the Princess Diana section, a screen depicts a 3-D, computer-generated “view” of Paris circa Aug. 31, 1997, the night she was killed in a tragic accident. All the while, audio snippets share theories surrounding her death — and guests are asked to share their own theories on the way out.
“The thrust of it all is to tell the stories behind the stories that the National Enquirer covers.”
The “Crime” area of the exhibit houses the Nicole Brown Simpson porch recreation, though Laney says there’s nothing “gory” about it. What National Enquirer Live reportedly wants to relay, rather, is the story behind how the outlet obtained a photo of O.J. Simpson infamous Bruno Magli shoes, a key piece of evidence in his civil case.
The Crime area also houses areas that deal with the Scott Peterson case, the JFK assassination (complete with a recreation of the book depository window across from Dealey Plaza), and a celebrity mugshot area — all of which are interactive, and some of which feature audio snippets or footage detailing how the National Enquirer’s editors, reporters and photographers worked to cover each story.
That’s not even mentioning one of the National Enquirer’s “most popular” stories, which centered on a photo of Michael Jackson in a hyperbaric chamber. And in honor of this, the museum has indeed recreated this photo with an animatronic Michael Jackson enclosed in a hyperbaric chamber.
And up on the wall above him? A recreation of the moment Jackson held his son Prince over the balcony of Berlin’s Adlon Hotel in 2002.
“You’re not going to come into the National Enquirer attraction and find stories that weren’t in the National Enquirer,” Laney explains.
A second location of National Enquirer Live is set to open in Branson, Mo., next month. Other locations are currently being scouted.