September 25, 2010 is the sixth annual Museum Day sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine. Over 1300 participating museums nationwide will offer the opportunity for guests to enter for free on September 25 (or September 26 if closed on the 25th). Among those museums participating are The Walt Disney Family Museum located at the Presidio in San Francisco and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum in Los Angeles which currently houses an Alice in Wonderland exhibit.
Peter Pan, a story which captivated the imagination of Walt Disney as early as 1935, will be showcased in a special exhibition at The Walt Disney Family Museum now through June 27, 2010. The feature-length animated film, released in 1953, will also be celebrated as the Museum’s film of the month in May.
In the spring of 2009, The Walt Disney Family Museum approached veteran filmmaker Don Hahn with a proposal to create a film that would celebrate the holidays through the eyes of Walt Disney. Under the direction of Diane Disney Miller, her husband Ron, and executive director Richard Benefield, the genesis of this idea became Christmas with Walt Disney, an enchanting fifty-one minute film filled with the joy and merriment of the holidays.
Mr. Hahn, whose credits include The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, was tapped to produce this film that will now become an annual event for The Walt Disney Family Museum to stage and entertain their guests each year during the holidays.
It makes its official debut this Thursday, October 1, but D23 members were offered an exclusive preview this past weekend to visit the new Walt Disney Family Museum located in San Francisco’s The Presidio. Reports of the free tickets selling out fast were all too common and it’s not any fault of the Museum. A steady stream of D23 Members crowded the ten galleries focusing on visually and audibly telling the story of Walt Disney’s life.
From the moment you step into the beautiful but non-descript building, you get a taste for what you’re in for. Nine trophy cases line the walls filled with literally hundreds of different awards and recognitions received by Disney along with a few bonus items thrown in. Also on display in the lobby area is some of the original furniture from the Disney apartment above the Disneyland Fire Department as well as the multi-plane camera just inside the gift shop area (the multi-plane camera is so large that it actually extends to its proper exhibit on the second floor).
Inside the first Gallery, you are introduced to Walt’s family, even pre-Walt. There are literally hundreds of photos that help depict the life of the childhood of Walt and his siblings. You also get your first taste of the technology heavily employed within the museum: LCD monitors (a few of *many*) play a short, stylized video along with actual records of Walt recalling his youth — everything from growing up on a farm to forging a document so that he’d be accepted by the American Red Cross to join an Ambulance unit in France during the war after being rejected by the Armed Forces for his age (he was 16 at the time).
Our series peeking into the galleries at the new Walt Disney Family Museum comes to a close with Gallery 10: Remembering Walt Disney.
Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966. Reactions from around the world, in newspaper articles, editorial comment, and letters and telegrams present an appreciation of the joy, hope, and inspiration Walt provided to millions of people around the world.
All images © Disney Enterprises, courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum
Continuing in our series of exploring the Walt Disney Family Museum, set to open on October 1, we are pleased to bring you a look at Gallery 8: Walt and the Natural World
Walt — who had a love of nature since his youth in Marceline — also ventured into live-action documentaries during the ‘40s and early ‘50s. The first of these was a nature documentary, Seal Island, a 27-minute account of the seasonal habits of seals that won the 1949 Academy Award™ for best two-reel documentary. Later documentaries in the series, “TrueLife Adventures” continued to focus on nature, while “People and Places” highlighted peoples and destinations around the world.
Continuing in our series of exploring the Walt Disney Family Museum, set to open on October 1, we are pleased to bring you a look at Gallery 7: Post-War Rebuilding: Mid-‘40s to the early 1950s
With the end of the war, Walt and Roy found inventive new outlets for animation and ventured into live-action production. They developed new package films for theaters that combined shorts and feature-length animated films, as well as movies that combined live action and animation. In addition, the Studio produced the enormously successful Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp, the studio’s first wide-screen animated feature. Disney also produced his first live-action features, including Treasure Island and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.
Continuing our series into the galleries at the new Walt Disney Family Museum, we are pleased to present to you some of the artifacts that can be found in Gallery 6: TheLate ’30s – ’40s
This difficult period in Walt’s life included the deaths of his parents, a studio strike that threatened the company’s viability, and a period when the U.S. military used part of the studio as a base. The company released Dumbo and produced training films for the military, public service shorts, and morale- boosting films, and Walt embarked on a goodwill tour of South America to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Latin American countries. He later produced two Latin American-themed animated movies based on the trip.
The worldwide success of Snow White let Disney Studios create new studio buildings in Burbank, CA, and produce even more ambitious features, such as Bambi, Pinocchio and Fantasia. The last film featured classical music and an orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Although well regarded by critics, none of the films was immediately financially successful, in part because overseas revenues were affected by World War II.
Continuing our series into the galleries at the new Walt Disney Family Museum, we are pleased to present to you some of the artifacts that can be found in Gallery 4: The Move to Features: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs