“The World’s Largest Magic Lantern”: Tom Hanks, Anna Kendrick & More Tout Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures And Its Long-Awaited Opening

Many a metaphor was floated on Tuesday morning as Tom Hanks, Anna Kendrick and others gathered to celebrate the long-awaited September 30 opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

To architect Renzo Piano, the museum is not the “Death Star” of Star Wars lore, but a “soap bubble” or “a dirigible”—”a flying vessel ready to land, ready to take off.”

Hanks—a Museum Trustee who helped lead fundraising efforts—called the institution “the world’s largest magic lantern,” referencing the very earliest image projectors in the history of cinema, some of which can now be found inside the building.

What all speakers at today’s press conference agreed on is that the Academy Museum is, in the words of its Director and President Bill Kramer, “a magnificent new home for the art of film,” the design of which is as extraordinary as the contents within.

“There are other cities with film museums but with all due respect…this museum has got to be the Parthenon of such places,” said Hanks. “Movies continue to be the magical art that speaks to everybody, everywhere, and does that art deserve to be honored and explored in a museum? I hope the question answers itself.

“I have to say,” the two-time Oscar winner added, “we’ve been talking about this at the Academy for the better part of 20 years, and the end result exceeds our dreams by about tenfold.”

Today’s presser from the Academy Museum’s David Geffen Theater also featured commentary from Academy President David Rubin & CEO Dawn Hudson, actor-producer Anna Kendrick, Chief Artistic and Programming Officer Jacqueline Stewart, and Miky Lee, who serves as Vice-Chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees.

Rubin called the opening of the museum “a dream come true,” realizing a vision that has been with the Academy since its founding in 1927.

Kramer expressed hope that the museum will become “an instant landmark in Los Angeles” and “a new global destination for movie lovers,” with Lee touching on its “international view of movies and moviemakers,” and its “ability to connect people across generations.”

Stewart touched on the institution’s inclusiveness, saying that it’s built on “the premise that there are multiple histories of film, and multiple ways of looking at them.” Hudson, meanwhile, paid tribute to Pritzker Prize winner Piano, sharing that she was “enthralled” from the start “by his eloquence and vision,” and that she “knew he could give form to [our] dreams and build a museum like the ones our pioneering filmmakers from over a century ago had dared to imagine.”

“I’ve been waiting with people everywhere to get my first look at the museum, and here it is,” added Kendrick. “It’s shiny, new, enormous and crammed with about 125 years’ worth of dreams, ideas and life-changing experiences. I can tell you everyone who works in movies wants to experience this place.”

The museum constructed by AMPAS is billed as the largest in the United States dedicated to the history, arts, sciences, and cultural impact of the film industry. It occupies a 300,000-square-foot campus at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Ave., its two buildings featuring exhibition spaces, educational and special event spaces, a conservation studio, a café and a museum store, along with two movie theaters (named after Geffen and Ted Mann), which will be the home to a year-round slate of screenings, film series, member programs, panel discussions, and other events.

The Academy Museum also holds a collection of more than 13 million artifacts from film history dating back to 1927, including Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, the typewriter that Alfred Hitchcock used to write the script for Psycho, one of Bela Lugosi’s capes from 1931’s Dracula, and more. Hanks is joined on its Board of trustees by Laura Dern, Whoopi Goldberg, Ryan Murphy, Ted Sarandos, Diane von Fürstenberg and others.

Today’s press conference comes on the heels of an announcement yesterday regarding A Night In the Academy Museum, an upcoming TV special hosted by Hanks and Dern, which will explore the magic and artistry of movies, giving many fans a first glimpse of the museum’s exhibits.

The Academy Museum will open on the 30th at 50% capacity, with masks required for entrance to all indoor spaces. Advance admission tickets can now be purchased at academymuseum.org.

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