The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
6 min read – When friends come to LA for a visit, they typically pack a to-do list of iconic tourist destinations. DisneyLand, Universal Studios, the beach, Griffith Park & Hollywood top the list. Of all these, the trek down to Hollywood rarely satisfies that desire to connect with the movie industry. Other than the walk of fame, there’s precious little to see for avid movie fans. Instead, the newest destination for all things “Hollywood” is a visit to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
With a grand opening on September 30th, 2021, the Academy Museum is devoted to the art, science and the artists that comprise the movie industry. It offers a fun, in depth look at the Motion Picture industry; past and present.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures dives into the history and science behind movie making through special exhibits, presentations and a wealth of memorabilia. The exhibits are various and will likely change periodically. The extensive collections will impress any movie buff.
The museum also looks at the cultural impact the film industry has made around the globe.
Where is it?
Open 10am to 6pm
As of this story, tickets are $25 per adult ($19 for 62 plus), College Students $15 & kids under $17 are free. Use the link above to pre order the tickets. Admission to the museum is broken up into time slots. Time slots ensure the museum never feels crowded and makes it easy to get from one exhibit to the next.
Get the App
Here’s the link for the Android or IOS app (you can also go to your device app store: search Academy Museum.
The App lets you order tickets, see what exhibits or movies are available and provides an audio tour. The Audio tour guides you through each floor & the many exhibits the museum has to offer. Take the time to download the app for the tour alone. You’ll get another level of really interesting detail.
The Rich History of Film
There’s no greater form of escapism than the movies. If not for the movie industry the pandemic would have been an even greater burden. Generation upon generation of films offer insight into each era, dig into our past or project us into endless varieties of future worlds.
I associate movies with specific era’s from my own timeline:
- Sitting in a crowded theatre watching “The Sting” with my parents (first grown up film).
- Shrieking with a best friend at Jaws.
- Taking my kids to Toy Story
The Academy Museum celebrates the rich history of film, from around the world. There are literally thousands of clips, technical equipment, costumes and memorabilia to explore. Each offering more insight into particular films, artists and the industry as a whole.
The level of detail with many of the exhibits shed new light on many films I grew up with.
Also I left the museum realizing just how many iconic films I’ve never seen. Citizen Kane is now on my list of films to see (nope, I have no idea what Rosebud is…)
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The Art and Science of Filmmaking
There are several exhibits that offer a fascinating look at the less understood art & science behind film creation. Backdrops, Editing, Foley work, the rise of technicolor are just some of the highlighted crafts that are instrumental in film.
For example, the exhibit on Foley work (the reproduction of everyday sound effects) highlights a scene from Indiana Jones. Listening to only Harrison Ford’s dialogue, you begin to realize how ordinary the scene would be. Then, by gradually overlaying background sounds, like footsteps, flying debris, giant boulders and eventually a musical score, the piece of film comes to life, delivering an iconic piece of film.
A History of the Academy Awards
The Oscars timeline exhibit takes you from the inception of the Academy Awards to the present. Famous & controversial awards speeches are highlighted as well.
Visual Appeal & Architecture
The design and layout of the Academy Museum in and of itself is worthy of a visit. The interior is modern and well laid out. With metered start times, it never seems busy and getting from one exhibit to the next is a pleasant experience.
The outdoor DolbyTerrace is a ideal spot to end your tour and take in a spectacular view of the Hollywood Hills (and Hollywood Sign).
Lunch at Fanny’s
We should have done this, but didn’t plan well. Fanny’s (named after actress Fanny Brice) restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Museum. The 10,000 sq ft contemporary chic design blends in old Hollywood touches. The elegant bar looks like to great spot for a cocktail after exploring the museum. Call ahead for a reservation. As of this writing, Fanny’s is only open from 10am to 4PM.
There is also an express market next to Fanny’s to grab a snack, but the line discouraged us from trying it out.
Catch a Movie
The Academy Museum also has two theatres on site. The Geffen theatre has 1000 seats and the Tedd Mann holds 288. Movies are shown daily. There are also special presentations and special screenings. You can get a full calendar on the website.
Make it a day with Nearby Museums
Within a very short walk are three more museums that are worth checking out. You won’t even need to move your car. As a matter of fact, the Academy Museum recommends you park in the Peterson Auto Museum parking lot, across the street.
The LA County Museum of Art – just went through a $750 million renovation LACMA houses one of the largest art collections in the Western US. Located next door to the Academy Museum.
La Brea Tar Pits – When you think LA think… Woolly Mammoths?? Yep, these tar pits captured many a dino throughout the millennia. Woolly’s, Saber Tooth Tigers, Mastadons all called LA home. More than just a pile of sticky goo, the La Brea Tar pits showcase fossilized remains, 3D exhibits, educational films & a fossil lab. 2 blocks from Academy Museum
Peterson Car Museum – The Peterson Car Museum (across the street from the Academy Museum), houses 4 stories of Automotive history. From classic cars to formula one to exotic motorcycles, the Peterson is a car lover’s mecca. Of course, since this is LA, there are also lots of TV cars. Want to see the original and more recent versions of the Batmobile, the Green Hornet’s car, Mad Max’s desert ride, James Bond’s snow tractor vehicle…thing. Lots to take in at the Peterson Auto Museum.
For true movie fans, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures should be added to the list of LA To Do’s. The collections & exhibits are worth the trip and you’ll leave knowing more about the art of movie making. Budget 2-3 hours to really enjoy the experience.
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