Archive, Field Notes

Bowers Museum Opens Virtual Disney Exhibit

From March 7th to August 30th 2020, Bowers Museum is presenting Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic, and you don’t even need to leave the house! Bowers Museum has created a virtual tour of the archives that you can access through your mobile phone by clicking this link. The tour takes you through a virtual time machine, showing archives that date decades back. 

The virtual tour takes you from room to room, showing the magnificent historical preservation of Disney characters, costumes, props, and more. Be sure to check out all of the DID YOU KNOW? dropdowns for images of each piece and interesting background.

One of the first places the tour takes you to is the “Reading Room,” where you get a closer look at historic files and the different aspects of Walt Disney throughout history. 

(Fantasia, 1940)

Next, we head into the “Back Room,” where samples of original animation art are presented.

(Snow White Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
(Prop Storybooks)

Information regarding the process that the Walt Disney team preserved this art is not only discussed, but the importance of this function is emphasized. “Each piece is carefully inspected prior to rehousing or being placed into storage…sometimes a process that takes hours, or even days, to accomplish safely.” 

We then get the chance to read about the Dimensional Collections, a grouping of more than 100,000 pieces including, among others, “framed artwork, glass matte, and background paintings” from the 1920s through the 1990s. This section also elaborates on different props including one of my favorites, Wilson from Castaway.

(Wilson; Castaway, 2000)

According to the section, “Keep Moving Forward,” the Disney archives will only continue to grow with the acquisition of pieces from Disney+ and 20th Century Fox film studio and library. 

The Archives’ projects also include the Disney Legend Awards. The virtual tour gives details regarding this prestigious award and emphasizes the overall importance of “gifted animators and artists, Imagineers, filmmakers, actors, singers, composers, writers, broadcasters, journalists, and business leaders from around the globe and all divisions of The Walt Disney Company.”

At the end of the tour, you get the opportunity to share one of your favorite, most unique Disney memories. After you submit your story, you can read other submissions! This is a fun and nostalgic way to show your appreciation and excitement for this exhibit as well as for The Walt Disney legacy.


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