Yesterday, the Walt Disney Company celebrated its 90th anniversary commemorating the date Roy and Walt Disney signed the contracts to produce the ‘Alice Comedies.’ In Chicago, the city in which Walt Disney himself was born, the anniversary was honored by the opening of the ‘D23 Presents the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives’ exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI).
Following a successful debut at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, the exhibit has been updated for its Chicago stay, featuring artifacts that shine the spotlight not only on Chicago’s place in Disney history, past and present, but also other current events in Disney’s history such as the recent passing of beloved original Mouseketeer Annette Funicello and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Disney classic film, Mary Poppins. The exhibit even has its own Animation Academy experience, just like the one found at Disney California Adventure and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Other highlights to be found amongst the collection include:
- Clips from several of Walt Disney’s earliest animated works, before there was a Mickey Mouse. The original script, typed by Walt Disney, for the 1928 cartoon short Steamboat Willie, which introduced movie theater audiences to Mickey Mouse for the very first time.
- A partial recreation of Walt Disney’s formal office from the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., including original furnishings and many of his personal items.
- Hand-drawn artwork, hand-sculpted models and props used in the production of some of Disney’s most iconic and renowned animated features, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Sleeping Beauty.
- A re-creation of a working animator’s office from the Disney Studios featuring authentic animator’s furniture, and models.
- Animation models and artwork from contemporary Disney animation film hits, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Aladdin.
- Props from classic Disney live-action films, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Rocketeer, The Princess Diaries, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Enchanted.
- A salute to Disneyland Park in California and Magic Kingdom Park in Florida, showcasing artwork, Audio-Animatronics characters, and memorabilia from such popular attractions as ‘it’s a small world,’ Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, The Hall of Presidents, as well as early plans and correspondence for Walt Disney’s vision of EPCOT.
We were invited to attend the exhibit’s opening and sent Bret Caldwell who passed along some photos sampling the exhibit as well a video of opening remarks by MSI President and CEO David Mosena along with Disney Archives Director Becky Cline.
‘D23 Presents Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives’ is currently open at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry through May 4, 2014. A separate, timed ticket is required (D23 Silver and Gold level members are eligible for a discount). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the exhibit’s official page.
Special thanks to Bret Caldwell for contributing to this article.