The newest Museum in Los Angeles, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, opened to the public on September 30, 2021, and it’s a fantastic place to take the whole family, especially if your family loves the movies. What better place to have a museum about the movies than here in Hollywood, where the Motion Picture Academy itself was founded!
The Museum aims to be an inclusive space, welcoming to all visitors, and to host inclusive exhibitions and programs, spanning the world’s film culture. The seven-story, 300,000 square foot museum anchors the West end of LA’s Miracle Mile, in the former May Company building (now known as the Saban Building) at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire.
The Academy Museum’s giant round theater building is officially named the Sphere Building, and is connected to the Saban Building by a bridge, but it’s already become known, affectionately, as the Death Star, paying homage to Star Wars. Inside, the theater is absolutely state of the art, and it’s hard to find a seat with a bad view of the enormous screen.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
6067 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 90036
Admission and Ticket Prices
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures requires advance purchase of timed tickets for your visit.
|Adult General Admission||$25|
|Children 17 and younger||FREE|
|California Residents with EBT card||FREE|
|The Oscars Experience (additional fee)||$15|
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Hours
The Museum is open 7 days per week, 365 days per year, from 10am – 6pm every day. The Oscars Experience opens one hour prior to the galleries opening, and closes one hour afterwards.
Parking is available at nearby museums, like LACMA’s Pritzker Garage, located at 6000 West 6th Street, or at the Petersen Automotive Museum, located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. Parking fees will range between $17 – $25 per car, per day. There is also some metered street parking available, but be sure to read the posted signs.
Members receive many benefits, including unlimited visits for a full year, priority check-in, early access on Member Appreciation Days, exclusive screenings, discounts at the gift shop, and members-only digital newsletter subscription. Please see their website for a full description of the members benefits for each level.
- Individual $100
- Dual $190
- Contributor $500
- Patron $1000
Programing for Families at the Academy Museum
Ongoing education and family programs will take place throughout the museum, in exhibition galleries, and in the Shirley Temple Education Studio. There will be Teen programs, Family Studio Activities, and School Field Trips.
Once a month, the Academy Museum will host “Calm Mornings,” where neurodivergent visitors, especially families, can access certain galleries an hour earlier than the general public, and accommodations will be made to moderate the ambient sounds and lights. Museum staff and educators will also be available to suggest self-guided exploration and play, highlighting experiences that are interactive and adaptable to many learning styles.
Another monthly event is called Community Day, and will feature chances to interact with Academy members and Museum staff to learn more about e craft of filmmaking. Upcoming Community Day themes involve special effect makeup, and movie sound design.
Exhibits on Display at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
The core exhibition at the museum is called the Stories of Cinema, which offers celebratory, critical, and personal perspectives on cinema and the impact of movies on us all. Here you’ll find costumes, props, script pages, and photographs from some of the most iconic and wonderful movies of all time.
Some of the displays are quite imaginative and striking, like the Ruby Slippers worn by Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ set against a backdrop of the four travelers from the movie heading off across the poppy fields to find the wizard.
You’ll also find displays of many of the mechanics of making films, like a motion picture camera on a dolly, and a film-editing machine, called a KEM, which has been all-but rendered useless by the use of video instead of film in movie making.
The Paths to Cinema includes an amazing collection of the very first objects people used to view “moving pictures,” from zoetropes, to magic lanterns, and everything in between. There’s a wonderful area where a light projected through a screen allows you to make your own shadows and hand puppets, mimicking how early filmmakers worked.
There’s a temporary exhibit all about Hayao Miyazaki, the influential and acclaimed Japanese filmmaker. His Studio Ghibli has made some of the most beautiful animated films ever seen, like Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and Ponyo, among others, and the exhibit is quite magical. No photos were allowed inside the gallery, so you’ll have to take our word for it.
Inventing Worlds and Characters is where you’ll find animation, which may be your child’s favorite part of the museum. Here’s you’ll find model figurines of Wallace and Gromit, the Seven Dwarves, and Jack Skellington’s head, among many others. There’s also a treasure trove of hand -drawn animation cells from Warner Bros. cartoons and even from Bambi.
The Museum is home to one of the simulated sharks used in the movie Jaws. He’s named Bruce, and is suspended over the escalator on the 4th floor. It’s quite fun to ride up and down underneath the shark, and we predict your kids will want to do this multiple times each visit.
If you’ve ever wondered how Pixar makes their amazing computer animation work so well, there’s a very cool exhibit that will demonstrate it to you. It’s like a zoetrope mechanism, in that it spins and lights are flashed so you see the illusion of movement, and it’s really cool to watch. However, it’s housed by itself in a smaller gallery, because the flashing lights may affect some people adversely, so be aware.
Family Matinee Screenings
It wouldn’t be right to have a Museum of Motion Pictures without having lots of chances to watch movies, right? The Academy Museum will host screenings for families of all ages every Saturday at 11am. All films in the series will be rated G or PG, unless otherwise noted. October’s lineup focuses on Halloween and Día de Los Muertos, and November’s theme will be films that tell the stories of Indigenous and Native people.
- October 2nd: Labyrinth
- October 9th: Wallace and Gromit The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
- October 16th: The Nightmare Before Christmas
- October 23rd: Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein
- October 30th: The Book of Life
- November 6th and 20th: Short Films by Indigenous Filmmakers
- November 13th and 27th: Moana
Film Screening Prices
|Children (under 17)||$5|
The Oscars Experience
Have you ever wanted to “Thank the Academy” and pretend you’ve won an Oscar of your own? This immersive experience will simulate stepping onto the Dolby Theater stage and accepting your award just like Meryl Streep. You’ll even get a video version to keep, but it’s likely to be very popular so you’ll need to wait in line, and it requires an additional fee of $15.
Dining at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
The Museum’s restaurant is called Fanny’s and will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, from 9am – 11pm daily. Fanny’s is named for Fanny Brice, a legendary movie, vaudeville, theater, and radio star from the 1930s and 1940s.
Movie Screenings at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
There will be many, many movies screened at the Academy Museum, in both of the theaters on site. The theater inside the Death Star (or Sphere Building) is called the David Geffen Theater, and the theater inside the Saban Building is called the Ted Mann Theater.
Among the movies scheduled to be screened in the opening months, you’ll find:
- The Wizard of OZ
- Castle in the Sky
- Real Women Have Curves
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
- Escape from LA
- and many, many more.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is sure to be the site of many star-studded events to come, and as opening day approached that was already proved to be true. Tom Hanks, one of the Hollywood royalty who helped spearhead the fundraising campaign necessary to create the museum, was on hand to welcome the crowds seeing the museum for the first time.
Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder and Managing Editor of MomsLA.com.
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