We’ve been ordering DVDs from Netflix for some 15 years. It’s been the best—and one of the few—ways to watch vintage movies. These disks often include “bonus” interviews with directors and actors, offering a behind-the-scenes look at moviemaking and the film industry. This, combined with recent streamable documentaries on famous directors and actors has proven to be a great way for us to indulge our passion for the movies.
But now there’s another way for movie buffs to learn about the movie business—a visit to the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opened this fall in Los Angeles.
The Academy Museum is the world’s premier institution dedicated to the arts, sciences and artists of moviemaking. Bill Kramer, the museum’s director, says the museum is global in outlook and will draw on the unparalleled collections and expertise of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the same folks who bring you the Oscars ®). He says its exhibitions and programs will “throw light on the complex and fascinating world of cinema—its art, technology, artists, history and social impact.”
Visitors can see a range of works on paper (movie posters, production prints, actor publicity photos and more), enjoy film screenings, and view both still and moving images that illustrate the history of motion pictures in the United States and throughout the world.
The museum draws on the Academy Film Archive, which is “dedicated to the preservation, restoration, documentation, exhibition and study of motion pictures.” According to its website, the Academy Film Archive is home to “one of the most diverse and extensive motion picture collections in the world.”
The archive includes the personal collections of such filmmakers as Cecil B. DeMille, Alfred Hitchcock, George Stevens, Fred Zinneman and many others. It holds over 250,000 items, including all the Oscar-winning films in the Best Picture category and all the Oscar-winning documentaries. And it also holds the world’s largest collection of movie trailers.
Presently, the museum is open all year, seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). Education and family programs are ongoing and include youth programs, school tours, family studio activities, matinee screenings and more.
For more information, visit the museum’s website, academymuseum.org, or call 323-930-3000 in Los Angeles.
All images are courtesy of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.