If you're a "typical" family, chances are Disney has touched your lives in some way, whether it's a vacation to Orlando, princess dresses in the costume closet or the Disney Channel on an endless loop. That's why the Museum of Science and Industry has teamed up with the Walt Disney Archives to create a one-of-a-kind exhibit that's all Disney, all the time.
Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives opens in Chicago, the city of Walt's birth, on the 90th anniversary of the Walt Disney Corporation. The exhibit features almost 300 artifacts collected over that time, from Walt's actual desk to a costume from Pirates of the Caribbean. The artifacts focus on the wide scope of Disney's work, from movies to music to theme parks.
Disney fanatics will enjoy seeing artwork that ranges from the early years of Snow White and Bambi to technologically advanced projects like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph.
David Woody, director of design and exhibit development for MSI (who confesses a fondness for Toy Story due to his last name), says he anticipates a favorite element for families will be the Animation Academy, where every person gets the opportunity to sit down with a Disney-trained animator and learn to draw one of their favorite Disney characters. Those drawings go home with visitors as a keepsake.
Another keepsake of the virtual variety is a digital postcard visitors can send from a kiosk located right next the original mailbox from Disneyland, where more than 300 million postcards were mailed back in the day.
"It symbolizes the incredible reach that Walt Disney has had," Woody says.
To that end, the exhibit examines Walt Disney himself, an imaginative and innovative person who transformed animation. The exhibit considers his many different interests-from railroads to miniatures-and the ways they contributed to his legacy as a technological innovator, which fits right into the museum's purpose.
"At the core, our mission is to inspire the inventive genius in everyone who comes to the museum," Woody says. "If you dream that something's possible and you're tenacious about being successful, you can do just about anything. Walt is the poster child for that."
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
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