Academy Announces Dec. 14 Opening Date for Motion Picture Museum Reconstructed from the Wilshire May Co

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

HOLLYWOOD (CNS) – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced tonight that its long-awaited museum dedicated to the history and development of films will open Dec. 14 on Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile.

The announcement was made in the midst of the 92nd Oscars ceremony at the Dolby Theatre. Oscar-winner Tom Hanks — one of the co-chairs of the fundraising campaign for the $388 million facility — made the announcement on stage.

“There is plenty of culture to be found in the City of Angels — museums dedicated to art, history and science,” he said. “And we even have a museum dedicated to selfies. I’m not sure why.

“But there has never been a museum dedicated to the art and science of motion pictures,” Hanks said.

The Academy has been touting the impending opening of the facility, but it had never given an exact date until Sunday night. Recently, the Academy hosted a media tour of the sprawling facility — albeit without any exhibits — taking shape in the former May Co. building on Wilshire Boulevard.

In 2018, the Academy announced that the facility’s inaugural long-term exhibition will explore the evolution of film, from its origins to its possible future. Tentatively titled “Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies,” the exhibition will occupy two floors of the museum.

The first temporary exhibition, meanwhile, will be the first U.S. exhibition of the work of Japanese animator, filmmaker and artist Hayao Miyazaki. That exhibition will be followed by one focusing on black filmmakers and their role in the development of American cinema, while also exploring black representation in the film industry from its inception to the period just beyond the Civil Rights era.

The main exhibit, “Where Dreams Are Made,” covering 30,000 square feet of space, will walk visitors through galleries highlighting the evolution of films. It will begin with an exhibition on the making of “The Wizard of Oz,” highlighted by a pair of Dorothy’s ruby red slippers.

Ensuing galleries in the exhibit will highlight the early days of filmmaking in the 19th Century, then providing glimpses of some of the earliest films ever projected and the “trick” and fantasy films of pioneers such as Georges Melies and Louis and Auguste Lumiere. Visitors will then move through galleries focused on camera and editing techniques that enhanced movie-making, then on the heyday of silent films and the classic era of films — featuring displays including a backdrop from “Singin’ in the Rain” and the doors to Rick’s Cafe Americain from “Casablanca” and tributes to screen luminaries such as Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Fred Astaire and Rita Moreno.

The museum will also feature exhibits on the history of the Academy Awards, and a gallery offering visitors their own photo opportunity and “Oscar moment.”

In addition to exhibition galleries, the museum will also feature two theaters, an education studio, event spaces, cafe and store, officials said. The museum website can be found here:
https://www.academymuseum.org/en/

Gwilym McGrew, former Assistant Store Manager of the old May Co store commented, “It is amazing the transformation of this old grand department store. This May Co was Store #2 of the national May Co chain. In fact, I remember there used to be an apartment at the top of the building just below the roof, out of the public spaces, that was Mr. May’s private residence for when he visited. The store when launched was enormous. When I worked there towards the end of its life many of the store walls were brought closer to the center of the floors because the floor capacity was so large. When constructed the store had its own doctor for the staff. Also, when I was there the very very old store carpenter was still on staff, an anacronym as that position had been eliminated in store payrolls decades before. But we kept him on because the store was so massive and there were always repairs and construction to do. It pains me to see that old department store gone, but what it has become is a beautiful new beginning.”

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