The Academy Museum in Los Angeles, opening later this year, bills itself as “the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies.” Sounds pretty great, but parents’ favorite part may be that it will be free for kids thanks to a huge gift from George Lucas.
Kerry Brougher, director of the museum, said that her team is “committed to helping educate our youngest visitors: the children and teens who will be the next generation of filmmakers, writers, and visual artists. To succeed though we must break down the financial barriers that make it difficult for families, students, and teens to visit cultural institutions.”
Lucas’s decision to fund the grant is in line with his own lived experiences. The Flash Gordon movie serials he watched as a kid famously inspired Star Wars, and it’s impossible to imagine American Graffiti without its soundtrack, composed entirely of songs from his teenage years.
The grant is meant to expose the next generation of kids to the culture that will inspire them. As Brougher put it, “Although not every child who visits the Academy Museum will embark on a career in filmmaking, each young person deserves to be inspired by the new perspectives and ideas that come through their exposure to the arts.”
The Academy Museum will open with exhibitions dedicated to The Wizard of Oz, “a multi-floor exploration of the art and science of motion pictures,” interactive art installations, Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. Its expansive collection of artifacts includes early motion picture cameras, the typewriter Joseph Stefano used to write Psycho, and the only surviving shark from Jaws. And kids can see it all for free.