Academy Museum of Motion Pictures makes debut

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Independent Staff Report

HOLLYWOOD — A dedication ceremony will be held Sept. 30, marking the opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the largest museum in North America devoted to exploring films and film culture.

“We are living in changing and ever-evolving times, and now more than ever we need to come together to share our stories, learn from one another, and bond over being entertained and delighted,” said Bill Kramer, director and president of the museum. “This is what movies do and we are thrilled to be opening such a dynamic, diverse and welcoming institution devoted to this beloved art form.

“I am so deeply grateful to the entire Academy Museum team and all of our partners who have worked with such dedication and integrity in building this new institution — for Los Angeles and for the world,” he added.

The museum is operated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that stages the Academy Awards every year. The dedication ceremony was attended by civic, cultural and entertainment leaders and officers of the museum and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Located in a former May Company building on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile neighborhood, the museum is located in buildings that are seven stories high and covers 300,000 square feet.

The museum opens with a 30,000-square-foot core exhibition “Stories of Cinema,” offering celebratory, critical and personal perspectives on the disciplines and impact of moviemaking, past and present; the temporary exhibition Hayao Miyazaki, the first museum retrospective in North America of the work of the acclaimed Japanese filmmaker; and “The Path to Cinema: Highlights from the Richard Balzer Collection,”  which features selections from the world’s foremost holdings of pre-cinematic optical toys and devices.

Another notable feature of the museum is “The Oscars’ Experience,” which gives museum visitors a chance to simulate the experience of stepping onto the stage of the Dolby Theatre to accept an Academy Award.

“The dream of building a museum dedicated to movies has been 90 years in the making for the Academy,” said Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “No matter what’s been happening in the world since then, no matter what the challenges, that dream has lived on.

“Now people from all over the galaxy will enjoy the incredible talents of our members and of all the artists who make movies. This is now a reality that would not have been possible without the dedication and focus of hundreds of incredibly talented people and their will to see it come to life.”

Ongoing education and family programs will take place throughout the museum in exhibition galleries, theaters and the Shirley Temple Education Studio. They will include teen programs, family studio activities and school tours.

Accommodative tours for members of the hard-of-hearing and deaf communities and low-vision and blind communities will be offered monthly, as well as accommodative family film screenings for neurodivergent viewers.

Fanny’s, a restaurant and café developed by restaurateurs Bill Chait and Carl Schuster and designed by LA-based Commune Design, will provide breakfast and lunch service with dinner service to be added later in the fall.

The two-story, 10,000 square foot restaurant space features a chef-designed open kitchen, elegant bar and captain-based service style that nods to a bygone era. Raphael Francois serves as executive chef. Wolfgang Puck Catering will oversee catering services at the museum.

The Academy Museum Store will greet shoppers in a 2,600-square-foot retail space off of the Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby and will feature merchandise designed and produced exclusively for the store, Oscars memorabilia and other film-related items.

The 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and the smaller (288 seats) Ted Man Theater will offer various screenings, starting with “The Wizard of Oz” on opening day.

Preceding the opening was an opening gala Sept. 25 that honored writer-producer-director Haile Gerima and actress Sophia Loren and gave special recognition to Academy Museum campaign leaders Bob Iger, Annette Bening and Tom Hanks. The gala was followed by four days of museum member previews.

The museum was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano and Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Gensler, a San Francisco-based firm, as executive architect.

It combines two contrasting structures: the renovated and expanded May Company building, a 1939 Streamline Moderne landmark now renamed the Saban Building in honor of benefactors Cheryl and Haim Saban, and a soaring new glass-and-concrete spherical building.

The 250,000-square-foot Saban Building houses the Fairfax Avenue entrance and Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby, the museum’s exhibition galleries, the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater, Shirley Temple Education Studio, Debbie Reynolds Conservation Studio, Fanny’s restaurant and café, and the Academy Museum Store.

The 45,000-square-foot sphere building houses the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and the Dolby Family Terrace. Visitors may access the Sphere Building from the Saban Building via the Casey Wasserman Bridge at mezzanine level which crosses over to the David Geffen Theater and the Barbra Streisand Bridge on the fifth floor which crosses over to the Dolby Family Terrace. Standing outside the northern entrance to the museum, at the base of the sphere, is the Walt Disney Company Piazza.

“Since 1929, when the first Academy board and its president, Douglas Fairbanks, dreamt of a museum devoted to motion pictures, our governors through the decades have sought to realize that dream,” said David Rubin, current president of the Academy. “The Academy’s branches and governors are grateful to Bill Kramer and the museum staff for their creativity and collaborative spirit, and we salute our Academy CEO Dawn Hudson for her perseverance in reaching this milestone event.”

Tickets to the Academy Museum are available only through advance online reservations via the Academy Museum’s website and mobile app. General admission tickets are $25 for adults, $19 for seniors (age 62 and older), and $15 for students.

Admission for visitors ages 17 and younger and California residents with an EBT card is free.

Advance timed entrance for the Oscars Experience is available to general admission visitors via a separate $15 ticket.

The Academy Museum’s inaugural public programs and film screening series also will be available for registration via the app. Tickets for film screenings and public programs are sold separately and do not require general admission to the museum.

Tickets will be available only through advance online reservations via the Academy Museum’s website. Film screening tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors (age 62+), $5 for college students, $5 for children (age 17 and younger), and $8 for Museum Members. Public and education program tickets range from free with admission to $20 for adults.

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