(Soon to Be) LA’s Biggest Tourist Destination

Aerial shot of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. ©Academy Museum Foundation

Anytime a new museum emerges in our town, it makes headlines. But when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decides to create a museum about the movies, that’s the Oscars talking and the story gains global interest. In September, the new Academy Museum will open to the public for the first time, and you can bet this swanky new spot will be LA’s #1 tourist attraction before the next Academy Awards are broadcast.

A bold claim? Hear me out: tourists to LA naturally expect a central, posh venue that personifies Hollywood, and there isn’t anything that fits that bill. The Warner Studios tour is awesome, and many flock to the Walk of Fame or prowl Rodeo Drive, but there’s nothing that tells the story of our town’s iconic, international export. The new Academy Museum will quickly fill that void of corralling out-of-town interest in the movie business.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Exterior Rendering ©Renzo Piano Building Workshop/©Academy Museum Foundation/Image from L’Autre Image

If you’ve ventured near LACMA anytime in the past few years, you’ve noticed a bulbous dome growing sideways behind the old May Company. As if pregnant, that classic Art Deco building is birthing the new film museum. And, it’s time to think about getting behind the velvet ropes to see it for yourself.

Tickets go on sale this week (on Thursday, August 5 – click HERE).

I went on a virtual tour of the museum a few months back and the opening exhibits look strong – a retrospective of the films of Hayao Miyazaki, a roomful of Spike Lee artifacts, galleries that explore all the below-the-line jobs on set (sound, costume, etc), and on deck for 2022, an exhibit chronicling the history of black cinema.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Saban Building. Photo by Josh White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation

Here are some highlights from the Collection (think Dorothy’s red sequined slippers) And while you’re on the museum’s swanky new site, poke around a bit to see all the programming that is lined up, kicking off with two special screenings of The Wizard of Oz (USA, 1939) featuring live musical accompaniment. Other screenings and programs will highlight Oscar-winning and nominated horror films (including Get Out and Psycho), the works of Haile Gerima, Jane Campion, Hayao Miyazaki, Satyajit Ray, and Anna May Wong, films scored by women composers (including Tron and Joker), films represented in our core exhibition Stories of Cinema (including Real Women Have Curves and The Way of the Dragon), family matinees, and so much more.

The museum will be hosting family matinees every Saturday afternoon – for a full schedule, click here. In addition, education and family programs will be ongoing. According to the Academy Museum, the museum will be open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $19 for seniors (age 62+), and $15 for students. Free admission for visitors ages 17 and younger is made possible by a gift from the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, in honor of Academy Museum Honorary Trustee Sid Ganis. That’s pretty cool!