If you love movies, then you should visit the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. After a delay due to the coronavirus, the museum was finally able to open last September. However, despite being open for nearly a year, it’s among LA’s most popular new attractions. What’s more, it’s the largest museum that’s devoted to the art of filmmaking, along with its artists.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
6067 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Where Is The Academy of Motion Pictures?
You can find the Academy Museum at the corner of South Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The museum occupies the historic Saban Building, formerly the May Company Building. Next door is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Just across the street from Wilshire is the Petersen Automobile Museum. Because there is a collection of museums in this area, it’s known as Museum Row
Is There Parking Onsite?
There are many parking lots within a short walk of the museum. The most convenient lot is the Pritzker Garage at LACMA. The garage is on Sixth Street and costs $20 for all day parking. On busy days, you may see valet service to accommodate traffic flow. There are pay stations where you can pay the parking fee. Another convenient parking lot is at the Petersen Museum. You can access the lot via South Fairfax Avenue. After parking, you can walk through the automobile museum to Wilshire Boulevard. From there, you can walk to the entrance on South Fairfax. If you visit the Petersen Museum, parking is $17 and $21 for non-visitors.
The Academy Museum recommends that you take public transportation or a rideshare service, if that’s possible. In regards to LA Metro buses, route 786 has stops on both sides of Wilshire Boulevard. Another route, 217 has a bus stop alongside the Petersen Museum on South Fairfax Avenue. Unfortunately, there isn’t a LA Metro subway station nearby. The closest is the Wilshire/Rodeo Station about 2.3 miles away. On the other hand, if you use rideshare, there is a designated stop at Roddenberry Lane, off Fairfax.
How Much Is Admission To The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures?
General admission for adults is $25 and $19 for senior citizens. For college students, the admission price is $15. On the other hand, if you have children 17 years or younger, admission is free. In addition to children, members of the museum have free admission. One option you or your family may like is the Oscars Experience. The price for the Oscars Experience is $15, along with the price of general admission. Please note that at the time you purchase, you must select a day and time to visit. The policy of time entries are in place until further notice. Please also note that even children 17 and under must have a ticket with a timed entry.
Related: Affordable San Francisco Attractions
Are There Any Health Restrictions?
There is a health desk currently set up at the entrance. At the health desk, you must provide proof of covid vaccination. If that isn’t handy, you must provide a self-attestation and proof of a negative test. Please note that the entrance is not on Wilshire Boulevard. Instead, you will see signs that will direct you around the corner to South Fairfax Avenue. After walking a few steps on South Fairfax, you will see the entrance on the right-hand side. You must wear a protective mask indoors until further notice.
How Long Does It Take To Walk Through The Academy Museum?
Once you arrive at your designated time, you are allowed to spend as much time as you like at the museum. However, the average time spent for visitors is approximately two hours. Of course, your visit can be less or much more than two hours. Of course, if you attend a special event such as a movie showing, your visit will be much longer.
Am I Able To Take Photos and/or Video?
Much like any other museum, you can take photos for non-commercial use. On the other hand, you cannot use flash photography at any time. By the same token, the policy makes no mention of filming videos, as long as it’s not intended for commercial use. However, the exception is if you are attending a special event. In this case, you may not be able to take photos, audio or videos.
Does The Academy Museum Have An App?
Yes it does! In fact you can download the app directly from the museum website. You can also download the iOS version at the App Store and Android at Google Play. This handy app can help you guide your way through the collection. By the same token, you might find something you may have missed as you’re visiting. The Academy Museum app is compatible for all types of iOS or Android mobile devices.
Related: Best Glass Museums In America
What Should I See At The Academy Museum?
Dolby Family Terrace
Because there are multiple floors, you can decide where to start. But not only should you see the exhibits but also the Dolby Family Terrace at the top level. Just take the elevator to the top. Once there, you will walk across the Barbara Streisand Bridge connecting the building to the terrace. If you continue across the terrace to the railing, you can enjoy some great views of Los Angeles. That’s not to mention a glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign in the far distance. Because the Terrace is a special events venue, there may be times that this section of the museum is unavailable to visitors. After you leave the Academy Museum, make sure to get another look at the glass dome of the Dolby Terrace.
The main levels are where you will be spending most of visit. After all, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has an extensive collection of movie memorabilia. For instance, you can actually see one of the pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the “Wizard of Oz”. In fact, this is the pair the actress wore when she clicks her shoes and says “there’s no place like home”. If that’s not enough, you will see an outfit worn by Jeff Bridges in comedy movie “The Big Lebowski”. Even further, you get to see the gladiator outfit worn by Russell Crowe and the yellow dress worn by Emma Stone in “La La Land”.
Vintage Costumes/Movie Props
Of course, there are outfits on display from the Golden Era of Hollywood. For example, you get to see an outfit and headdress worn by Carmen Miranda. In the same section you will see Marlon Brando’s outfit from “Mutiny on the Bounty” and a prop from “Citizen Kane”.
In a section that’s bound to get larger over time are several Oscars on display. In fact, among these Academy Awards is Sidney Poitier’s Oscar for Best Actor. That’s not to mention the Academy Award for Special Effects given to the FX team for Star Wars. Yet another impressive Oscar on display is Alfonso Cuarón’s award as Best Director.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures features ongoing permanent and temporary exhibits for public view.
Currently on view in the Museum Stories section is a tribute to director Spike Lee. “The Art of Moviemaking: Spike Lee” is an insightful exhibit chronicling his career. The exhibit features a number of galleries with movie memorabilia. For example, on a wall are movie posters, photos and handbills about some of his “heroes and sheroes”. Another section you can see some clothing he wore in his landmark movie “Do the Right Thing”. Yet another section has musical instruments and clap boards.
The Path To Cinema: The Richard Balzer Collection
This exhibit features vintage devices dating from the 17th to 19th century. This enormous collection comes from Richard Balzer, chairman of the Magic Lantern Society. In the exhibit, you can see pre-cinema gadgets, such as zoetropes and the world’s first film projector. In addition are optical devices like peepshows, and magic lanterns. Balzar’s wife Patricia donated this collection to the Academy Museum and library.
Related: Best American Music Museums
Backdrop: Invisible Art
If you’re a fan of Alfred Hitchcock movies, you must see this exhibit. On display across two levels is the authentic Mount Rushmore backdrop used for “North by Northwest”. If you may recall in this iconic Hitchcock thriller, Mount Rushmore is on display multiple times. For example, the scene where Cary Grant, James Mason and Eva Marie Saint are inside the park’s restaurant. On the top level of the exhibit are images and rare artifacts from the film.
Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971
Covering the entire fourth floor is this new exhibit on Black Cinema. The exhibit will also feature Baltimore, a three-screen DVD installation by Isaac Julien Studio. The scheduled opening date for this highly anticipated exhibit is August 21, 2022.
If you’ve ever wanted to make an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, visit the Oscar Experience. It’s a $15 add-on to your general admission ticket that allows you to make that speech. In this case, you simply walk up to the staff at the entrance, then have the ticket scanned. You then type in your email and the name you wish to have for this presentation. Then you are filmed holding onto an Oscar while making your speech. In front of you is a large audience that honors you for your coveted award. That video is then sent to the email you provided.
Fanny’s Café and Bar
Also on the historic property is Fanny’s Café and Bar. This impressive upscale restaurant is named after vaudeville star Fanny Brice. If the name’s not instantly recognizable, you may remember the 1968 movie “Funny Girl” starring Barbara Streisand. Open for brunch and dinner, the restaurant has an extensive food and drink menu. In some detail, you can order items like Caprese quiche ($9), Caesar salad ($15) or chicken club ($16). For dinner, you may like spinach linguine ($23), torched yellowtail ($21) or rib eye ($62). From the bar, you can order signature cocktails like Easy Rider ($19) and Some Like it Hot ($18).
Academy Museum Store
To complete your visit, you should stop by the Academy Museum Store. Near the entrance, you will find all sorts of souvenirs, branded clothing and more. You can even purchase a replica of the Academy Award. For example, you can find the Oscar on keychains, snow globes, shopping totes and holiday ornaments. Of course, if you don’t have time to visit, you can always visit the online store.
In addition to its collection, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has two entertainment venues onsite. For instance, you have the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater and 1000-seat David Geffen Theater. Each of the theaters will host a number of events year long. For example, the 1995 film “Babe” will screen at the Tedd Mann Theater this month. That’s followed by the 1990 sci-fi film “Total Recall”. What’s more, the museum has been the setting for many recent movie premieres. In this case, “Last Night in Soho”, “Belfast” and “House of Gucci” had their premieres here.
Related: Universal Studios Hollywood FAQs
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.