Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic opens at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana on Saturday March 7th and was originally slated to run until August 30th, but due to the COVID-19 closure it has been extended until October 18th. The Bowers Museum is located four miles south of Disneyland, just off the I5 in Santa Ana, for more on the Museum visit their website – https://www.bowers.org The Bowers Museum Complex is over 158,000 square feet encompassing several buildings and a courtyard including an 11,000 square foot children’s museum named Kidseum.
The Walt Disney Archives exhibit premiered at the 2018 D23 Expo in Japan. It then toured Japan before being shipped back to the United States. The exhibit has been retooled a bit for the U.S. tour. The Bowers museum is the first U.S. stop for this traveling exhibit. The exhibit at the Bowers Museum features 465 items from the archives using approximately 10,000 square feet. Here is the original press release on the exhibit with more details. Throughout the run of the exhibit there will be lectures, film screenings, children’s programs, and dining experiences. For full details visit the Bower’s Museum Website, here is a direct link to the Bowers Museum Calendar.
I was invited to a media preview of the exhibit. Below are some cell phone pictures & video from the ribbon cutting and a first walk through the exhibit. For a more in depth look at the exhibit here is my full picture set.
My Thoughts/Observations/First Impressions:
- I had never been to the Bowers Museum so this was my first time on the grounds, I need to go back sometime to see their regular exhibits and explore the museum itself. We were only able to see the Archives Exhibit during the preview.
- The museum is close to Disneyland, it was 6 miles from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure and about 15 minutes to get there. It is right off the I5 freeway in Santa Ana. So if you live in the Los Angeles or Orange County areas or are planning a visit to the Disneyland Resort it is convenient.
- The exhibit features a large variety of items including some of the history of the archives itself which I enjoyed. Some of the information provided shared more about the archives too which I found interesting. The 465 items chosen for the exhibit span most of the company dating back to the founding of the company up through some recent film releases plus some 20th Century Fox items even.
- Prop Culture is a new series coming to Disney+. It was previewed in one gallery on a screen in the corner, the clips they showed were really interesting and I look forward to seeing the series. This series will feature an extended look at props and costumes form several films. Interviews will include the people who made them, the actors/actresses who wore/used them and others involved in the film and archives.
- A question I always receive with these exhibits is if you have been to other exhibits such as the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives back in 2012 or the D23 Expo exhibits over the years how much is new. The answer really comes down to how many of the exhibits have you been to? I have attended most of them so I would say a majority of the items that were on display I have seen in one form or another over the years. There was a percentage of new items and the presentation is always different and you pick up on new details with each viewing.
- Another common question is how much time should I allocate. Since we did not tour the rest of the museum I cannot say on that front. The Disney Exhibit I spent about 90 minutes walking through and photographing.
- 03/05/20 – My Full Picture set previewing Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic at the Bowers Museum
- 09/19/19 – Walt Disney Archives Kicks Off Its 50th Anniversary With Exhibit At Bowers Museum
- 06/30/2012 – Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
- D23 Expo Walt Disney Archives Exhibits:
- 2019 – Walt Disney Archives Presents Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume
- 2017 – Walt Disney Archives Presents: A Pirate’s Life For Me: Disney’s Rascals, Scoundrels, and Really Bad Eggs
- 2015 – Walt Disney Archives Presents – Disneyland: The Exhibit
- 2013 – Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives
- 2011 – Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives