The Walt Disney Family Museum
History and museums
The Walt Disney Family Museum is an American museum that features the life and legacy of Walt Disney. The museum is located in The Presidio of San Francisco, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco. The museum retrofitted and expanded three existing historic buildings on the Presidio’s Main Post. The principal building, at 104 Montgomery Street, faces the Parade Ground, and opened on October 1, 2009.
The Walt Disney Family Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was formally owned, operated and funded by the Walt Disney Family Foundation—a non-profit organization established by Disney's heirs (including Diane Disney Miller, Disney's biological daughter and founder of the museum). It is not formally associated with The Walt Disney Company, the media and entertainment enterprise.
The 40,000 square foot space in the main museum building features the newest technology and historic materials and artifacts to bring Disney’s achievements to life, with interactive galleries that include early drawings and animation, movies, music, listening stations, and a 12-foot diameter model of Disneyland.
The lobby displays 248 awards that Disney won during his career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and many Academy Awards--including the honorary award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which consists of one full-sized Oscar alongside seven miniature ones (representing the Seven Dwarfs).
There is also a Fantasia-inspired state-of-the-art digital Theater on the lower level of the museum, which screens Disney classics daily.
There are ten permanent galleries, starting with Walt Disney's ancestral history and ending with his death on December 15th, 1966.
Pieces related to Walt Disney's miniature Carolwood Pacific Railroad (built in his backyard), including his beloved Lilly Belle locomotive, are on display at the museum as well.
Randy Malamud of the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote, "It's a collection of ideas and documents, a diverse array of archival, filmic, and pop-cultural texts that historicizes Disney's work and compels us to think twice about how we appraise it. The museum energizes the fascinatingly charged scholarly debate that the Disney phenomenon has provoked, shaking the worn, staid, sometimes cynical images we have of Disney and his empire, bringing to them renewed color and motion."
Edward Rothstein of The New York Times wrote, "Given the heritage of the place, you expect to see a ride at the Walt Disney Family Museum . . . And in a way, there is one, since the museum does just what Disney thought a ride should do when he created Disneyland more than half a century ago: it tells a story. And while the museum is almost leisurely in relating its narrative, only here and there veering into uncharted terrain, and while children will quickly pass by many sections that will fascinate their elders, there are more than enough thrills for everyone."