Friday, September 21, 2012

The Walt Disney Family Museum (Part 1)

Recently, I went to the Walt Disney Family Museum, in San Francisco, CA.  They don't allow cameras anywhere inside the museum, except for the main room, where they keep Walt's collection of awards and trophies.  The display case with about twelve Oscars is rather impressive, including the famous one for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (which was specially modified to have seven mini-Oscar statuettes attached).

You know, that's something I don't quite understand about museums or art galleries, or other places that forbid you from using cameras.  What's the reasoning behind that?  If I use a camera with a flash, I don't see how that could possibly harm any of the Oscars in the Oscar display case.  And yet, they have a security guard to make sure the camera flashes stay off.  It's odd.

That was a problem during my trip to Spain.  Nobody was ever allowed to use flash photography, but since none of the places I went to had proper lighting, everybody's cameras kept going to auto-flash mode.  It was a cruel situation, where it was impossible to follow the rules and take visible pictures.

The first room was about Walt's ancestors and direct family members (they hailed from Ireland), and the first 18 or so years of his life.  Walt liked drawing pictures, and he played around with the new field of movies and animation on a small scale, doing things for a local place in Kansas.  It led to him and a group of six buddies making animation stuff which was kind of okay.

And things just seemed to escalate from there.  The early part of his work was good, but kind of, well, obvious.  I mean, the first major technological innovation was making a cartoon with sound, and next was making a cartoon with color, and third was making a feature-length cartoon.  If Walt Disney had never been born, it's pretty much guaranteed that somebody would have thought of doing those things.  But Walt was the one to do them all, and do them first, which makes him a real pioneer in the field.

Something I found interesting were the 1930's, when they did color re-releases of old cartoons.  It reminds me of how they're doing 3D re-releases of old movies, nowdays.

The other thing I found really interesting were the first cartoons with sound.  The way they did sound syncing was with a bouncing ball, that served as a metronome.  I had no idea that was the origin of Disney's "follow the bouncing ball" phrase.


Betsy Lightfoot said...

As I understand it, a camera flash ages paintings as much as three days of sunlight.

One flash probably wouldn't matter much, but hundreds of them every day could add up really quickly.

Anonymous said...

Since when did you go to San Francisco!?! Dude, I live right near there!

Nana Cupcake said...

That's very cool! And yeah, I don't really know why they don't allow flash photography- heck, photography at all. I think it's like Betsy said; "a camera flash ages paintings as much as three days of sunlight".

But what if you're not using flash? They probably think that someone might try to copy that art or whatever... paranoia much???

Jillaffe said...

Like Betsy said, flashes ruin paintings because of all the light exposure.

It's the same reason why you can't touch some exhibits. One touch won't ruin it, but hundreds of touches and the oil from fingers can damage a piece.

However, that must've been a neat museum! I did a project about Disney for school one year, where I had to do a lot of research about Walt. I think it'd be cool to see all that information in person instead of just on the Internet!

Anonymous said...

If you want to take pictures in a museum or where flash photography is prohibited, you could look for a museum mode in your camera, specifically suited for these places.