News / Arts & Entertainment

Hollywood-related Exhibits Give Museums a Boost

Hollywood-related Exhibits Give Museums a Boosti
X
Faiza Elmasry
May 05, 2014 1:21 PM
For years, film props and pop-culture artifacts have attracted audiences to museum exhibits. Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz movie are a must-see item for many people visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. A model of the starship Enterprise from the 1960s TV series Star Trek hung for many years in the Air and Space Museum. But some museums are going a step further. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, curators are capitalizing on audience interest by creating exhibits around movies to tell real-life stories. Mary Alice Salinas narrates.
Faiza Elmasry
For years, audiences have flocked to museums to see exhibits of film props and iconic pop culture artifacts.

For example, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz are a major draw at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. Some museums are going a step further, capitalizing on audience interest by creating exhibits around new movie releases to tell real-life stories.  

That's the case with the 2012 political thriller Argo, which won four Oscar awards last year. The film tells the story of a covert operation led by CIA agent Tony Mendez, who created a phony Canadian film crew in a scheme to rescue six U.S. diplomats who were in hiding at the Canadian Embassy in Tehran after the Iranian revolution.

Argo is the subject of a recent exhibit at the International Spy Museum, where visitors can see authentic photos and documents about the operation.

“Tony and Jonna [Tony’s wife] Mendez, both founding members of the International Spy museum, they brought their expertise and history with the CIA to tell the story of Argo, the real story that occurred in 1979, 1980,” said museum spokesperson Jason Werden.
 
Other film-related exhibits at the Spy Museum include “Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond villains.”

“[It’s] highlighting all of the 23 Bond films over the last 50 years and again bridging the gap between what is really occurring in real life and what you see on screen,” said Werden.  

“The Americans” is another exhibit built around a hit TV spy drama.

“We have an exhibit at our lobby detailing not just the exciting characters in the show, but really the history of the Cold War that we are now seeing everyday in the headlines,” Werden said.

The Newseum, a Washington D.C. museum focusing on journalism, has also embraced a bit of Hollywood.  

“Anchorman: The Exhibit,” is its first effort to incorporate a movie into its offerings.  The 2004 comedy takes place in a San Diego TV station in the 1970s, where actor Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy clashes with his new female counterpart.
 
The exhibit opened last December just before the release of the sequel "Anchorman 2."

Newseum spokesman Jonathan Thompson is amazed at how popular it has been.

“When visitors come into the Newseum, all of them are asking, 'Where is the Anchorman Exhibit? I heard you have an exhibit about Ron Burgundy, show me where that is,’” he said.

Jim Mulvaney, who works at a radio station in Chicago, visited the exhibit.
 
“It is surprising that they went to so much detail and kept so many props," Mulvaney said. "I am enjoying it. It brings back a lot of funny moments from the film for me.”

Thompson says the exhibit allows visitors see the lighter side of the news, while highlighting a serious issue: opportunities for women in news.

“The film focuses on this fictional anchorman who is kind of a clown of the newsroom, and is always kind of saying some not so nice things about the women in the newsroom," he said. "It is a story that resonated with us because there is some truth to the Anchorman films; women in the newsroom were discriminated against."

Playing off popular films in museums benefits both the museums and Hollywood.

“It gives Hollywood another opportunity to take the material that they create, often wonderful material, into new venues to be experienced by new audiences that would not necessarily experience it," said Maggie Stogner, a film and arts professor at American University in Washington, D.C. "If you have a screening experience in a movie theater, it is you and the screen. When you take it to the museum environment, you can really play with this material.  You can use it in group settings.  You can use it to to take people into the story behind the movie.”

The partnership between Hollywood and museums, Stogner says, is an example of how boundaries can be pushed, presenting new, exciting ways to engage audiences.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."