The Walt Disney Family Museum, which opens on Oct. 1, 2009 in the San Francisco Presidio (buy tickets here), will be something of a high-tech wonderland, according to this piece in the New York Times.
The permanent galleries of the Museum are located at 104 Montgomery Street (not to be confused with Montgomery Street in the financial district — the City actually has two Montgomery Streets). It is one of the five identical barrack buildings built in the 1890s that flank the west edge of the Main Parade Ground, and has a beautiful new addition in what was the courtyard, as you can see in the photo above.
Every gallery is packed with video monitors, touch screens and sound systems intended to bring static drawings, storyboards and ephemera to life. There is abundant documentation of Walt Disney’s private life, with snapshots and home videos everywhere.
One of the highlights of the museum is that, in the ground floor lobby, visitors will encounter a suite of Victorian furniture from Walt Disney’s top-secret hideout. This was his private apartment above the Main Street fire station at Disneyland, where he spent about one night a week. It is said he would rise early enough to drive the fire truck around the grounds before the public arrived.
Disney’s first commercial film was a series of silent comedy shorts in the 1920s that combined a live-action girl with cartoon animals. A poster for the first film, made in 1924, will be featured at the Museum. It features Virginia Davis, Disney’s original Alice, who died last month at the age of 90.
A major highlight of the Museum is the 12-foot-diameter model of Disney’s work of the 1950s and ’60s. It was created over the last two years by Kerner Optical, a model-building shop in San Rafael, Calif., that was once part of George Lucas’s special effects company Industrial Light & Magic.
The model contains extant attractions like Main Street and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, but also imaginative additions like the original Space Port, a massive futuristic attraction that Disney had hoped to build within Tomorrowland. It’s a truly original work of art.
Photos: Courtesy Walt Disney Family Foundation.
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