The founder of the Walt Disney Archives, Dave Smith, was honored with a window on Main Street, USA at Disneyland earlier today. The window honoring Smith is found above the Fortuosity shop about halfway down Main Street, USA on the West side of the street.
The ceremony revealing the window was held before the park opened with members of the Walt Disney Archives along with Dave Smith’s family and friends in attendance. Disney Ambassadors Nataly Guzman and Mark Everett King Jr. hosted the ceremony. Appropriately, When You Wish Upon a Star was performed during the ceremony.
During the ceremony Kris Theiler, vice president, Disneyland, and Becky Cline, director, Walt Disney Archives also unveiled a replica of the window. The inscription on the window says, “New Century Historical Society, Dave Smith, Town Archivist, Preserving, Protecting & Presenting Our Fond Memories of the Past.”
“You can imagine this is a special tribute, not only because Disneyland is Walt’s original theme park – but also, it is a place that Dave loved,” Theiler said. “The windows here on Main Street, are a longstanding tradition that was started by Walt to recognize those who went above and beyond to support the mission and magic of The Walt Disney Company. And, today, for all those who come to this happy place, these windows tell the stories of extraordinary people – offering living lessons about their roles, their contributions and the legacy they left behind.”
Dave Smith was brought in to start what would eventually be the Walt Disney Archives after he began a year-long project working on a biography of Walt Disney in 1967. The Disney family and studio were looking to preserve Walt Disney’s papers, awards, and memorabilia. It seemed only natural to have Smith help with the process. This would eventually lead to the founding of the Walt Disney Archives with him as the first Archivist. The foundation he made in the early days has led to the Walt Disney Archives becoming a model for what corporate archives could and should be in the industry.
“It’s because of Dave’s vision, and his passion and his efforts that the Walt Disney Archives is still going strong today and is bigger than ever,” Cline said. “With new technology that we have today, we are doing things a bit differently… But the core values that Dave instilled in us will always inform our mission – to protect, preserve and share the rich history of The Walt Disney Company and to support the creation of all of the magic yet to be.”
Disneyland President Ken Potrock also shared about Dave Smith during the ceremony and his contribution to Disney.
“Like our friend Jiminy [Cricket], Dave’s work has helped to guide and shape us into who we are today — and it is evident in our cast, our resort and our amazing company,” Potrock said. “There is no greater wish come true than to realize that your contributions have served so many, so well. And as time moves on, Dave’s work will be more important than ever because it provides us with a lasting connection to the past.”
Dave Smith was named a Disney Legend in 2007. He would pass away at the age of 78 on February 15, 2019. Throughout his career, he wasn’t just the chief archivist for the Walt Disney Archives. He also wrote many books, most notably Disney A to Z, an encyclopedia of Disney information.
There are many windows on Main Street that have been dedicated to those who have made significant contributions to The Walt Disney Company in one way or another. The next time you stop by Disneyland, take some time to check out the names on the windows and see if you recognize any and also check out Dave Smith’s window above Fortuosity.