Lonely Planet Writer

LA’s new Academy Museum to celebrate movie magic

Film buffs rejoice, a new museum set to fuel movie magic obsession will open in Los Angeles next year. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, celebrating everything to do with the silver screen will be opening mid-2019, ninety years after the idea was floated by founders Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.

The famous ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz. Photo by Joshua White, JWPictures/©A.M.P.A.S.

The 300,000sq ft museum is set to be an immersive experience featuring everything from props, memorabilia and costumes, to screenings and events. It was backed by the Academy, the group that runs the Oscars, and its three fundraising campaign chairs are Oscar winner Tom Hanks, nominee Annette Bening and Disney CEO Bob Iger.

The breath-taking collection will have more 12 million photographs, 190,000 film assets, 104,000 pieces of astonishing production art, 80,000 screenplays and 61,000 posters. Looking at the past, present and future of the movie industry, highlights include Rick’s Café from Casablanca and memorabilia from the collections of Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, and Katharine Hepburn.

Shirley Temple’s family donated a number of artifacts. Photo by Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.

A hub for filmgoers, the new museum will consist of two main structures. One is a sphere-like building which will boast a 1000-seat theatre and the other is the revamped former May Company store, which following the landmark donation of US$50 million from philanthropists Cheryl and Haim Saban, will be called the Saban Building. It will feature the exhibition space, restaurant and screening room Visitors will even get a chance to walk on a red carpet and accept their own Academy Award!

The impressive new building was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, who is also responsible for the new Whitney Museum in New York City.

Morticia Addams dress. Photo by Joshua White, JWPictures/©A.M.P.A.S.

“The Academy Museum is going to be the permanent home for the art of film in its storied past, amazing present and fast-evolving future,” museum director Kerry Brougher said. “For visitors to the Academy Museum, the creativity and innovation of the museum’s digital engagement will provide a unique experience only the Academy can offer.” The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will open on Wilshire and Fairfax in the Museum Mile area of Los Angeles.