Academy film museum to include 3 theaters, Oscar ‘experience’

Share via

A spaceship-like, 1,000-seat theater may be the most striking feature of the Motion Picture Academy’s planned film museum at LACMA, but the organization has also revealed a bevy of other details about what the six-story, 290,000-square-foot facility opening in 2017, will include. Some highlights:

Ground Floor: This will consist of a public piazza, the museum lobby, a cafe and a gift store. The piazza will connect the film museum to the rest of the LACMA campus. The academy says “a majestic red carpet and Cannes-style grand staircase” will take visitors into the soaring 1,000-seat, domed “premiere theater,” to be named for David Geffen, who has pledged $25 million to the $300-million museum.

From the piazza, visitors will enter the ground floor of the exhibit space where they will find a two-story 12,000-square-foot “making of...” experience. The academy says this permanent and interactive exhibition “will recreate the experience of real-life theatrical moviemaking” and will “allow visitors to make lasting memories while learning how to shoot and edit a film, light a set, oversee a voiceover session, score a film, overlay visual effects, color correct, become a Foley artist, utilize a green screen and more.”


ENVELOPE: Coverage of AMPAS and the Academy Awards

Connected to the “making of” exhibition will be a “demonstration stage” with room for 150 people to watch as “academy members and other moviemaking professionals who will conduct clinics and master classes tied to the arts and sciences of moviemaking.”

Also planned for that section of the museum is a two-story, 6,200-square-foot gallery to present traveling shows and special exhibitions, some of which may be developed in collaboration with other cultural institutions.

Second floor: This story will include more than 10,000 square feet devoted to this history of the movies. Topics to be covered in this section include:

— Lumière and the Cinématographe

— Edison and the Kinetoscope and Vitascope

— the Silent Age of Cinema

— the rise and influence of the studio system

— the defining of classic film genres — musicals, westerns, gangster films, horror films

— the impact of World War II on movie making

— film noir and the blacklist

— the impact of TV on the movie industry

— epics and 3-D

— the business of moviemaking, including exhibitors, studios, guilds, agencies

— foreign films

— teen culture

— independent cinema

— animation throughout the decades

— digital versus film; the impact of new technologies; and more.

A 144-seat theater will be part of the film history gallery and will host screenings tied to the exhibits. The academy says this theater will also showcase film series and retrospectives, independent and experimental movies, and foreign films. Also planned for the second floor is a Founders Room, to be used as a “luxurious dining and special events space.”

Third Floor: This level will be largely devoted to chronicling the academy itself, with a permanent exhibit on the organization and the Oscars. A planned 8,700-square-foot multi-media and interactive exhibition will let visitors “walk the red carpet, learn about the history of the academy and the Academy Awards, explore the work of recent nominees, and even have the ability accept their own Oscar.” The academy bills this section of the museum as “thrilling.”


This section will allow visitors to learn about “every Oscar winner in every category throughout the history of the Academy Awards.” Attendees will also be able to view still shots and film footage of Academy Award shows and watch videos of acceptance speeches of past Oscar winners. (It remains to be seen whether this section will allow visitors to revisit Seth MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” song from the 2013 show or Rob Lowe’s notorious musical number with Snow White from the 1989 telecast.) Another 144-seat theater will be embedded within the third floor, screening films related to the Oscars.

Fourth Floor: This will house a 8,700-square-foot gallery space for touring exhibits and a 1,500-square-foot education center, targeted at K–12 students.

Roof: Billed as “one of the most spectacular special event and scenic view spaces” in Los Angeles, the rooftop terrace is slated to host cocktail receptions, post-premiere parties, and other special events. A dining room and garden will accommodate 1,000 guests and the academy believes it will become “Los Angeles’ leading location for galas, awards ceremonies, and academy special events.”

Lower Level: The basement level will allow visitors a peek into the museum’s storage areas, giving them a glimpse of artifacts in the museum’s permanent collection not currently on display — including props, scripts, posters and photographs.


Academy reveals new drawings for film museum


David Geffen donates $25 to academy film museum at LACMA

Academy aligns with LACMA to create film museum