March 6, 2014
Treasures of the Walt Disney
Museum of Science and Industry
by Dan Baggott
My brother and I recently attended
Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Museum of Science
and Industry (MSI) in Chicago. The purpose of this exhibit, opened
on October 16, 2013 and runs thru May 4, 2014, is to celebrate the
90th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company. It showcases
the great accomplishments of Walt Disney (born in Chicago) thru his
early years of his animation career and the Disney Parks. Robert
Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said that the
exhibit 'showcases the creativity and innovation that has defined
Disney for 90 years and we are proud of this heritage and pleased to
share this rare glimpse into our rich history with Chicago's
world-renowned Museum of Science and Industry.' MSI chairman David
Mosena echoed Iger's words saying 'through this exhibit we're
pleased to showcase Walt Disney as both a master storyteller and
innovator whose creative legacy continues to inspire people of all
ages. Guests will be immersed in Walt Disney's 'can do' spirit,
optimistic outlook and never-ending curiosity that propelled him
thru his impressive career. This spirit continues to be the creative
inspiration behind many of the incredible experiences created by
The exhibit, which contains more than 300 artifacts,
is divided into eight sections; the early years, early Hollywood,
Animation Tools and Technique, Walt: Showman of the World, Mary
Poppins, Theme Parks, Disney Today, and Animation Academy. Each of
them provides some very rare and never seen before photos and
artifacts but others may look familiar to the average Disney fan.
In the early year's section, it shows Walt's first
illustrations as a boy on a postcard and in his sister's original
school book in 1917. Also, guests can see the stock certificate of
his first animation studio, Laugh-O-Grams, Inc. and various photos
of his childhood home in Chicago.
After spending many years in the Midwest, it was
time for Walt Disney to move west to Hollywood and start his career.
In the Early Hollywood section, guests will learn how he started out
with various silent animated films and the creation of everyone's
favorite character, Mickey Mouse that was featured in the short film
Steamboat Willie. Also on display is the original storybook
for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
As Walt's career flourished in the 1940s so did the
technology of producing animated films. In the Animation and
Technique section, guests can learn how he contributed to the
production of these films through the invention of the storyboard,
perfecting character development, creating stylized backgrounds and
the creation of the multiplane camera which the model version can be
seen on display. Finally, there is a full re-creation of a typical
animator's studio on display from The Walt Disney Company.
When Walt Disney became a household name, he decided
to take his movie producing talents to the next level by doing
live-action films. In Walt: Showman of the World section, guests can
see a recreation of Walt's office at the The Walt Disney Studio, his
many awards including a Grammy for Mary Poppins, and Annette
Funicello's original Mouseketeer outfit.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of
Mary Poppins there is a special section in the exhibit devoted
to the movie. Some of the feature items that guests can see include
artifacts from the film, drawings of the different costumes worn by
the characters, the original sheet music, and interviews with the
One Sunday afternoon when Walt and his daughters
were at the local amusement park he watched them riding the
Merry-Go-Round and thought there ought to be some sort of park where
both the parents and their children could have a little fun
together. This thought turned into Disney's next big idea, the
creation of Disneyland and subsequent parks. This section of the
exhibit celebrates Disneyland, Disney World and his vision of EPCOT.
Some of the artifacts include a ticket for the invitational press
preview of Disneyland on July 17, 1955, the first ticket purchased
by Roy O. Disney for Disneyland, and the Abraham Lincoln
Audio-Animatronics head from Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
The next to last section of The Treasures of the
Walt Disney Archives, explores how people today enjoy the
recently released Disney films. Some of the artifacts include a
surfboard from Teen Beach Movie (2013), the tuxedo Tom Hanks
wore while portraying Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks and the
costume worn by Mila Kunis as Theodra from Oz The Great and
The last section of the exhibit, Animation Academy,
guests will learn the storytelling and technology still used in
today's Disney animated films like morphing and 3D
painting/rendering techniques. On display are models of Scar, Simba,
Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King and models of Ariel, and
Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.
As we left the exhibit, it felt like a 'mini-Disney'
trip as there was a small gift shop containing some Disney
merchandise including pins that commemorate the exhibit. Overall, it
was a great display of Walt Disney's life and career but a little
more could have been added about the theme parks. For all you Disney
fans living in the Midwest, find some time to visit The Treasures
of the Walt Disney Archives presented by Walgreens at the Museum
of Science and Industry in Chicago. You will not be disappointed.
Treasures of the Walt Disney World Archives,
Press Release, October 16, 2013
Treasures of the Walt Disney World Archives
Walkthrough, October 16, 2013
Link to photos I took.