Brand New Walt Disney Family Museum


At the newest addition to the Disney franchise, The Walt Disney Family Museum, the world's favorite mouse is just a small part of the equation. Instead, the museum's mission is to present the life and achievements of the man behind the mouse: Walt Disney himself.

According to an opening statement, the groundbreaking museum will tell Disney's story through his own words, the stories of those who knew him, and an array of historic materials and artifacts.

The shrine to the godfather of animation will be located in the Presidio of San Francisco, occupying three buildings that were formerly part of an army barracks complex. The campus features a series of ten galleries that incorporate interactive displays and listening stations, over 200 video monitors, and a 144-seat screening facility. The grounds will also include a learning center, museum store, and café operated by Wolfgang Puck catering.

Some artifacts on display in the museum collection includes drawings Disney made in his youth, an early model of Disneyland, hundreds of animation cels and storyboards, rare film clips, and even the honorary Academy Awards Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs received: 1 full sized and seven miniature Oscar statuettes. A special gallery that will host temporary exhibitions is scheduled to open in 2012 in a nearby former gymnasium.

Other permanent exhibits incorporate scripts, movie posters, and musical scores which add layer-upon-layer to the story of Disney's life. Today, Disney is credited to have enriched the imagination of generations, a distinction he went through several hardships to achieve. The museum uses artifacts to bring these situations to light, including a replica of the ambulance he drove while in the Red Cross Overseas in France as well as drawings and cartoons from his first animation company, Laugh-O-gram Films, which went bankrupt in 1923.

Of course, Disney is most remembered for the unforgettable characters he created and technological advances he made. Among his achievements is producing Hollywood's first feature length animated film, releasing the first movie soundtrack as a consumer recording, and creating the first nature documentary. He also pushed the technological boundaries of his time, pushing for the use color television, stereo simulcasting, and widescreen technology. In addition, his love of trains led him to bring the first daily-operating Monorail system in the United States to Disneyland.

Disney's family is not forgotten in the museum, either. For the first time, his home life is represented in photographs, artifacts, and home movies. Disney's daughter, Diane Disney Miller, said "[I]t is a wonderful story. Dad himself loved to tell it. Thanks to the amazing work of many dedicated people, we are fortunate to be able to tell it here using the tools he worked with-art, music, film, and technology-to present an honest yet affectionate portrait of this amazing artist and man."

Timed-entry tickets to the museum are not available at the door, and are only available online up to 60 days in advance. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, $12.50 for children aged 6-17, and free for children under age 6 accompanied by an adult.

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