A Tribute to the Man, Beyond Just the Mouse





At first glance the Walt Disney Family Museum, which opens on Oct. 1, would seem a serious, even scholarly endeavor. Financed by the Walt Disney Family Foundation and run by Richard Benefield, the former deputy director of the Harvard University Art Museums, it is dedicated not to Disney the entertainment behemoth but to Disney the man, from his birth in Kansas City, Mo., to his role as a powerful studio boss in 1960s Hollywood. But the museum is likely to defy expectations of sober restraint. Although housed in an unprepossessing barracks in the Presidio, a landmarked 19th century Army base, inside it proves to be something of a high-tech wonderland, designed by David Rock-well, the man behind the 2009 Oscars broadcast and the Imagination Playground in New York.

Every gallery is packed with video monitors, touch screens and sound systems intended to bring static drawings, storyboards and ephemera to life. Many of the exhibits focus on technological advances made by Disney himself that resulted in the first successful synchronized sound cartoon ("Steamboat Willie," 1928), the first convincing suggestion of depth in animation ("The Old Mill," 1937) and the first modern-day theme park (Disneyland, 1955)...


comments powered by Disqus