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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens in Los Angeles

The museum finally opens its doors to visitors after a two-year delay: the project, already postponed until 2020, had then been interrupted by the pandemic. 

11 October 2021

On 30 September, in the presence of civic, cultural and entertainment leaders including Sophia Loren, the brand new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opened in Los Angeles, the first museum of its kind and the largest in North America dedicated to exploring the world of film and film culture. The museum finally opens its doors to visitors after a two-year delay: the project, already postponed to 2020, had then been interrupted by the pandemic. 

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, photo by Joshua White, JWPictures/ © Academy Museum Foundation

The Academy Museum was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano and the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, in collaboration with global firm Gensler (the executive architect of the project) and KPFF Consulting Engineers. It is a 300,000-square-foot complex on Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue that combines two contrasting structures: the renovated and expanded May Company building, now renamed the Saban Building, and a new spherical glass and concrete building suspended above ground by four concrete pylons, inspired by the airships that once landed in the area when the neighborhood was an airport. The Saban Building houses the Fairfax Avenue entrance and the Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby, the museum's exhibition galleries, the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater, the Shirley Temple Education Studio, the Debbie Reynolds Conservation Studio, Fanny's restaurant and café, and the Academy Museum Store. The 45,000-square-foot Sphere Building houses the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and the Dolby Family Terrace.

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, photo by Iwan Baan/ © Iwan Baan Studio, courtesy Academy Museum Foundation

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, photo by Iwan Baan/ © Iwan Baan Studio, courtesy Academy Museum Foundation

Visitors can access the Sphere Building from the Saban Building via the Casey Wasserman Bridge and the Barbra Streisand Bridge. Outside the museum's north entrance, at the base of the sphere, is The Walt Disney Company Piazza, enlivened by the landscape designed by artist Robert Irwin. 
Throughout the museum and its exhibition galleries, theatres, and the Shirley Temple Education Studio, educational programs such as targeted activities for teens, family study activities, and school tours will take place. Targeted programmes and activities will also be offered for all communities of people with disabilities and their families. 

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, photo by Iwan Baan/ © Iwan Baan Studio, courtesy Academy Museum Foundation

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, photo by Joshua White, JWPictures/ © Academy Museum Foundation

Bill Kramer, Director and President of the Academy Museum, said, “We are living in changing and ever- evolving times, and now more than ever we need to come together to share our stories, learn from one another, and bond over being entertained and delighted. This is what movies do, and we are thrilled to be opening such a dynamic, diverse and welcoming institution devoted to this beloved artform. I am so deeply grateful to the entire Academy Museum team and all of our partners who have worked with such dedication and integrity in building this new institution—for Los Angeles and for the world.”

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, photo by Joshua White, JWPictures/ © Academy Museum Foundation

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, photo by Joshua White, JWPictures/ © Academy Museum Foundation



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