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What You'll Find At The Academy Museum When We Can Go To Museums Again

A rendering of one of the galleries in the Academy Museum's Stories of Cinema exhibition. (Academy Museum Foundation/Image by wHY architecture)
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The Academy Museum has halted construction due to coronavirus but said last week that it still plans to open on Dec. 14. Now, it has announced new details on the exhibitions planned for its launch, including collaborations with directors Spike Lee and Pedro Almodóvar.

"We are keenly aware that we're working towards the opening of the Academy Museum during a time of great challenge," Bill Kramer, the museum's director, said in a press release.

A rendering of the entrance to Stories of Cinema. (Academy Museum Foundation/Image by wHY architecture)

The core exhibition, housed on the second and third floors, will be Stories of Cinema. It will include galleries developed with filmmakers Spike Lee and Pedro Almodóvar, Academy Award-winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and Academy Award-winning sound designer Ben Burtt.

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A rendering of how it will be to gaze at the Ruby Slippers inside the Wizard of Oz gallery in the Academy Museum's Stories of Cinema. (Academy Museum Foundation/Image by wHY architecture)

There will be a gallery devoted to the Wizard of Oz, covering every aspect of the film's creation, from screenwriting to production. It will be connected to galleries that dive deeper into different film disciplines.

Spoiler alert: A rendering of the Citizen Kane exhibit in Stories of Cinema. (Academy Museum Foundation/Image by wHY architecture)

Other galleries will focus on science fiction/fantasy films, social issues in documentaries and narrative films, a history of the Academy Awards and significant moments in cinema.

There will be three immersive experiences next to Stories of Cinema. One will feature moviemaking technology, including the original multi-camera rig used in The Matrix, where you'll be able to have your own "Bullet Time" experience using a green screen.

Rendering of a gallery of Oscar statues in Stories of Cinema. (Academy Museum Foundation/Image by wHY architecture)

Another will be the Oscars Experience, where you can simulatthe experience of walking on stage and accepting an Academy Award.

The first large-scale temporary exhibition (previously announced) will be curated in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, looking at animator Hayao Miyazaki's work. It will feature more than 300 concept sketches, character designs and immersive environments. The museum will follow that up in fall 2021 with Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971.

In the museum's special collections gallery, an exhibition will focus on where filmmaking started, including early pre-cinema objects like magic lanterns and camera obscuras.

A rendering of the introduction to Stories of Cinema in the Spielberg Family Gallery. (Academy Museum Foundation/Image by wHY architecture)
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The museum's lobby will house the Spielberg Family Gallery, open to the public for free. It will include an introduction to the museum's exhibitions using screens featuring the history of cinema.

One of the centerpieces of the Academy Museum, the David Geffen Theater. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

As far as the programming in the museum's two movie theaters, the programs will include:

  • Oscar Matinees: Saturday and Sunday afternoon screenings of Academy Award-winning and nominated movies
  • Branch Selects: Members of the Academy's different branches will screen movies that are significant to their specific craft
  • Inside the Academy: Looking at key moments in the history of both the Academy and the Academy Awards
  • In Conversation: Filmmakers in dialogue with the people who have influenced, inspired and informed their work
  • Impact/Reflection: Focusing on social impact, activism and representation
  • Two annual programs: one focused on film preservation, another on emerging filmmakers
  • Other special screening series curated by filmmakers

Design studio wHY Architecture has been hired to finalize the galleries' designs. The firm has previously worked on the design of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
You'll be able to see all of this at the Academy Museum in Hollywood on Dec. 14 (maybe, because, well, you know). You can see behind-the-scenes photos from a hard-hat tour of the museum we took in February here.