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Had a fun time at the Walt Disney Family Museum opening on Saturday.

On Saturday the Disney Family Museum in SF threw a party for us animation folks to preview the new museum. It was an intimate soiree for 300, including John Lasseter, Andreas Deja, Kevin Lima, Ralph Eggleston, Brenda Chapman-Lima, Charles Solomon and Scott Johnston, Peter Sohn, Didier Ghez, Hans Perk and many more.

I was impressed by the museum. I had initially worried that it was just going to be a gallery of family photos and some home movies. Such museums, like that of Liberace and Roy Rogers, had to close as the succeeding generations are born with no memory of such a celebrity. But the Walt Disney Family museum collection, filling ten galleries of an 1890s barracks in the Presidio, has a lot of cool artifacts that we hadn’t seen before. Including some of the earliest design sketches of Mickey Mouse, a wonderful digitized reference log of an effects designer on Fantasia named Schultzie, that you can bring up and send back manually like Tom Cruises computer programs in Minority Report. Walt Disney’s first model train, The Multiplane Camera, and a large scale model plan for Disneyland. Some of Walt Disney’s earliest live action trick films, including one including his mom wee screened.

I was consulted on the section on the 1941 Strike and Walt’s HUAC testimony, which was certainly more honest than a similar exhibit at Ronald Reagan’s Library. That had one little glass case facing a wall, which you have to search for to find.
The next day Didier hosted a luncheon for about twenty animation historians. We had a great time discussing issues relevant to such a collection.

So I can certainly recommend the Disney Family Museum. SF is a good tourist and foot traffic city, and people there take visiting museums as a serious form of recreation. The view of the Golden Gate from the Presidio, formerly only available to Generals, is breathtaking. I look forward to seeing how the Museum will expand and what special shows they will mount in the future. Thanks to Paula and Howard, Diane Disney and Ron Miller and all there for throwing such a great party.