Editor’s note: Today, guest writer Cari Keebaugh tells us all about an incredible new special exhibit opening at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Take it away, Cari!
As many Disney fans know, this year marks the 75th anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In honor of the film that changed the way America viewed animation, the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California, has opened a new exhibit, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic.
Guest curated by Lella Smith, the Creative Director of The Walt Disney Company’s Animation Research Library, this extensive exhibit features over 200 pieces of artwork, including artwork from deleted scenes, rare watercolor backgrounds, vintage posters, and complex story sketches, among other works. The elaborate project required meticulous work by many, many people, including “a master storyteller, 32 animators, 1032 assistants, 107 inbetweeners, 10 layout artists, 25 background artists, 65 special effects animators and 158 inkers and painters and countless production staff.”
While the project required numerous staff members, Walt Disney himself was, of course, the biggest contributor to the film. According to Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, co-founder of the Walt Disney Family Museum, Walt Disney was completely and intimately engaged in this film from start to finish: “It was the first of its kind to have the depth of character, careful attention to story, original music that helped tell that story and superb artistry.” Also according to the exhibit’s website, these pieces illustrate how the numerous people involved in the project “shaped and defined an entirely new American art form through their creation of this groundbreaking film.”
The exhibit’s catalogue, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Art and Creation of Walt Disney’s Classic Animated Film, written by Disney film historian J. B. Kaufman, expands on the idea that the film paved the way for a new art form, noting the lasting impact that Snow White has had on film: it “established a gold standard for the craft of making animated films, a standard filmmakers today still are struggling to measure up to.”
In addition to the main exhibition, the Walt Disney Family Museum is also offering several special events, guest lectures, film screenings, and parties related to Snow White. Special events include a discussion by curator Lella Smith and catalog author J.B. Kaufman titled “From Page to Screen: The Evolution of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” on Saturday, November 17, including a book signing with J.B. Kaufman for his new book The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs published this past October. Also, ritzy party-goers will be pleased to hear that the Museum is hosting a retro, 1930s-inspired premier anniversary soirée, “Animate Your Night: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Old Hollywood Red Carpet Premiere” on Friday, December 21, which will include, appropriately, apple cocktails. Several short gallery talks (November 23 through November 25 and December 21 through December 23) will also be offered. Screenings of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will run throughout November and December as well.
The exhibit is scheduled to run from November 15 until April 14. While there are rumors that the exhibit may travel to the East Coast after it closes in San Francisco in mid April, those rumors (unfortunately) remain unconfirmed.
For more information on the exhibit, related special events, ticket prices and purchases, or information about the Museum itself, please visit the Walt Disney Family Museum’s website.
Co-founded by Walt Disney’s daughter and grandson, Diane Disney Miller and Walter E.D. Miller, respectively, the Walt Disney Family Museum “tells the story of the man behind the myth in Disney’s own voice and in contemporary exhibits that feature state-of-the-art technologies, listening stations, and more than 200 video screens.” For a limited time, the special exhibit will focus on that chapter of Disney’s career that saw the first animated full-length feature film attain a life of its own.