This year the Walt Disney Archives is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This is a milestone for a wing of the Walt Disney Company that preserves the history of the nearly 100 year old company. As part of the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the archives, Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserve the Magic is being presented at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana from March 7th through August 30, 2020.
The exhibit features 465 items that span the range of Disney both in terms of its history and also the various areas of the company. They come from 80 different film and tv titles. The collections also includes 21 original costumes, 3 production cars, 218 props from film and television productions, 50 pieces of original art documents and posters, and 9 vintage merchandise pieces that date all the way back to the 1920s.
As guests walk through the exhibit they will be treated to seeing the recreation of Walt Disney’s office used in Saving Mr. Banks, Herbie from The Love Bug, Mary Poppins building blocks and snow globe, Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass, props, artwork, and so much more.
The Walt Disney Archives is comprised of 30 full-time staff members who work to collect and preserve historical artifacts. They all helped contribute to this exhibit. Director Becky Cline shared that the exhibit originally was presented in Japan for the 2018 D23 Expo. It proved to be so popular that the exhibit ended up going on tour for 19 months in 9 different venues. Throughout the course of its run, over a half million people visited it. Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserve the Magic will be a traveling exhibit in the United States with its first presentation being at the Bowers Museum. The exhibit has been changed to reflect the different interests of American audiences versus Japanese fans.
Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserve the Magic is an exhibit that will be enjoyable for Disney fans of all levels. There is quite a wide array of different things to check out. If planning on reading and really absorbing everything the exhibit has to offer, plan on spending a solid morning or afternoon at the exhibit. Also note that there are some fun surprises included throughout the exhibit. Some of these are more obscure than others and could easily be passed over. However, during the press preview there could be found some random and fun artifacts relating to The Muppets Most Wanted, Disney Parks, Batman, and even What About Bob? in the various rooms.
Throughout the course of the exhibits run, there will also be multiple special events presented at the Bowers Museum. Here is a look at what will be presented during the run of Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserve the Magic:
- March 7 – Preserving the Magic: Fifty Years Inside the Walt Disney Archives with Becky Cline
- March 8 -Story by Disney: Inside the Craft and History of Storytelling at The Walt Disney Studios with Don Hahn
- March 14 -Theme Songs of Disneyland with Stacia Martin
- March 21 -‘Eat Like Walt’ Dinner Celebration with Marcy Carriker Smothers
- March 22 – Kidseum Family Workshops: Costume Creation
- March 29 -Fantasia (1940)
- April 4 – Walt Disney Archives Tour & Tea Party with Robert Maxhimer- Sold Out!
- April 11 – Walt Disney Archives Lecture Series: 50 Years of the Walt Disney Archives: A Gold Mine of Fun Finds
- April 11 – Walt Disney Archives 7-Lecture Series Package
- April 12 – Disney-Inspired Scavenger Hunt: An Easter Special!
- April 25 – Walt Disney Archives Lecture Series: Inside the 20th Century Fox Collection with Lynne Drake
- April 26 – Kidseum Family Workshops: Modeling Clay Character Design
- April 26 – Why We Love Disney: The Power of the Disney Brand with Dr. Andi Stein
- May 9 – Pencils, Pens & Brushes – The Colorful Women of Early Disney Animation with Mindy Johnson
- May 9 – An Invisible History – Trailblazing Women of Walt Disney’s Animation with Mindy Johnson
- May 16 – Dali and Disney: Destino with David A. Bossert
- May 31 – Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
- June 6 – Walt Disney Archives Tour & Tea Party with Natalie Auxier & Melissa Pankuch- Sold Out!
- June 27 – Walt Disney Archives Lecture Series: Weird Mickey with Becky Cline
- July 12 – Walt Disney Archives Lecture Series | Disneyland: Fond Memories Of the Past with Becky Cline & Stacia Martin
- August 1 – Walt Disney Archives Tour & Tea Party with Kelsey Williams & Chris Rexroad- Sold Out!
- August 9 – Walt Disney Archives Lecture Series: Photo Library Presentation
- August 22 – Walt Disney Archives Lecture Series: “The Art of Disney Costuming” Book Panel
The Bowers Museum is offering time entry for Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserve the Magic. Tickets can be purchased for specific dates and times for guests wishing to experience it. Tickets are available on the hour between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM every Tuesday through Sunday. Ticket prices are:
- $23 weekdays for adults
- $25 weekends for adults
- $20 weekdays for students and seniors
- $22 weekends for students and seniors
- $5 any day for children 3-11
- $10 for any active military and NARM member.
Members of the Bowers Museum also will need to schedule a time to experience this exhibit as well. More information can be found at bowers.org.