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Citing ‘devastating pandemic,’ Academy Museum once again delays opening — to April 2021

An aerial view of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, under construction in March 2020
A drone view of the sphere at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in March. The museum has pushed back its long-awaited opening date — again — until April 30.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The long-delayed opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has been delayed yet again. The museum, which had announced in early February that it would open to the public on Dec. 14, has pushed that date back to April 30, 2021.

Museum director Bill Kramer said in a statement that “the unprecedented and devastating pandemic happening around the world” led to “the difficult decision to wait a few more months to open our doors.”

For the record:

7:42 PM, Jun. 15, 2020An earlier version of this article said the Academy Museum was housed in a former Macy’s department store. It is housed in a former May Co. building.

The museum’s parent, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which also organizes the Academy Awards, likewise announced that it was postponing the 93rd Oscars ceremony to late April. (The awards were originally scheduled to be held on Feb. 28.)

The museum has been the subject of long-running (prepandemic) speculation related to its opening, its management and its cost.

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In his first in-depth interview as Academy Museum director, Bill Kramer talks budget, construction time lines and, most important, what you’ll see inside.

Originally, it had been scheduled to open its doors in 2017. That date was then revised to 2019. Later, the target was moved to 2020. It was only in February that museum leadership had settled on December as the opening date.

All the while, there have been leadership changes and rising cost estimates. Museum director Kerry Brougher, who had ushered the museum through much of the construction, stepped down abruptly in August. Kramer, who had served as the museum’s director of development and external relations from 2012 to 2016, was named his replacement in October and took over in January.

Over the years, the building, which features a dome-shaped theater designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, as well as a gut and renovation of the attached 1939 May Co. department store, has seen its price tag jump almost $100 million, from $388 million to $482 million.

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Despite the delays, the museum is nonetheless moving ahead with installations.

In the statement. Kramer said: “Thankfully, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place, exhibitions continue to be installed. We look forward to April 2021 when Los Angeles and the world will be able to join together as the Academy celebrates the Oscars and the opening of its long-dreamed-of museum.”


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