Saturday, November 24, 2012

Walt Disney Family Museum

Last weekend I was able to head to San Francisco to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum for D23 days.  The Snow White exhibit: The Creation of a Classic is now open.  The exhibit is in an auxiliary building that the museum uses for special events.  The event did not allow enough time to check out the exhibit  but it really is impressive.  There is some amazing work on display, and in excellent condition being over 75 years old!

I had the opportunity to attend From Page to Screen, a talk with J.B. Kaufman and Lella Smith.  Kaufman is a Disney author and historian who has been working and researching for a Snow White book for 10 years!  His book The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the museum catalog Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Art and Creation of Walt Disney's Classic Animated Film also written by Kaufman, are truly amazing!  Lella Smith is the creative director for the Walt Disney Animation Research Library and the curator of the new exhibit.

Lella discussed some of the things she found for the exhibit and some of the tales of finding work.  Kaufman traced Snow White's history on stage and theater and the path of the Grimm story to Walt Disney's masterpiece.  Much of what was discussed can be found in Kaufman's book.  I would love to hear more from Kaufman - he really has quite the wealth of knowledge and had stories I had never heard.  I'll share more with you all next post.

D23 days started with a similar talk by Lella (a bit of a disappointment to those of us who had just heard the same talk earlier that day).  Alice Davis was present in the audience and she added a few of her stories and memories of working with Walt and for the studios.  Then they took us over to the museum.  An hour is really not enough to fully experience the exhibit.  The exhibit is really exciting to see, but I found it to have an odd flow to it.  It wasn't as large as I was expecting after seeing the books, but Lella explained they had found hundreds of works they wanted to include but had to keep cutting it down to fit in the space.  The exhibit is well worth the time though.  No pictures are allowed in the museum so you'll have to visit it to see (or pick up Kaufman's book).

A couple of other notes - The museum does a program called Inside Track for members where they can answer trivia questions about the museum and turn them in for a button.  This month's trivia is all Snow White related.  Be sure to pick up a card even if you aren't a museum member - it is a postcard of Walt and art from Snow White.  The other note is that there isn't a whole lot of special merchandise for the exhibit.  There is a lot of Snow White  related things for sale - pins, figures, postcards, and whatnot, but little that is special for the exhibit.  There are three posters featuring some great art of the Hag and Snow White (one of which was the gift to D23 members) and there is a hat as well.

I'll be going back in December, when I hope to have enough time to take better notes to share with you!

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