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Walt Disney Family Museum Reports Successful Year

Diane Disney Miller with Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas from ABC’s Once Upon A Time in front of a few special Academy Awards at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Congratulations are in order to the team at the the Walt Disney Family Museum who all contributed to making 2012 a banner year. Since November 2011, annual attendance has increased by 13 percent from 90,000 to 103,000, the number of member households has increased by 43 percent, and the Museum welcomed a 25 percent increase in group sales.

Gabriella C. Calicchio joined the WDFM in November and under her direction, the Museum developed its first-ever, five-year strategic plan, launched an exhibitions program, and opened the first major special exhibition—Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic, which was celebrated by visitors and critics alike. In the intimate theater gallery, the Museum presented two additional exhibitions—Heinrich Kley: From Fantasy to Fantasia and Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation. The exhibitions have been popular among a wide variety of Bay Area visitors, including young professionals, seniors, and students, as well as tourists and cultural travelers.

Museum co-founder and Board President Walter Elias Disney Miller states, “With a renewed leadership in management that brought us the collaborative development of The Walt Disney Family Museum strategic plan along with our staff and volunteers—who are the heart and soul of this Museum—we now have a clear vision to guide us towards the best museum experience we can offer our visitors while showcasing the legacy of not only my grandfather Walt Disney, but also the men and women of his organization that brought his dreams to life through inspiration and innovation.”

The Walt Disney Family Foundation also added important works to the collection last year including the Ingeborg Willy scrapbook which offers a glimpse into the ink and paint department with candid photographs, memos, time cards, and pay stubs; a collection of concept art (28 thumbnail paintings and 3 large paintings) by Eyvind Earle made in the 1950s for Walt Disney’s film Lady and the Tramp; and the Ickeymay Ousmay Coat of Arms which was painted on Walt Disney’s office door at the Hyperion Studio in 1930 in Pig Latin, and remained on the door until after his death in 1966.

Calicchio created a Department of Public Engagement, connecting education and public programs, to ensure the museum delivers meaningful lifelong learning experiences that honor the legacy of Walt Disney and inspire visitors of all ages to explore their own potential as producers, creators and innovators. With this new direction Calicchio and her team have dramatically expanded programming to include an Open Studio initiative, masters classes from artists and industry professionals and created new opportunities for educational and community partnerships. Beginning in July of last year, the Museum launched the bi-monthly after-hours party, Animate Your Night! to enormous success, and established a Development Department which successfully secured corporate sponsorships from Wells Fargo and PG&E.

The Museum Store enjoyed its busiest months in history and sold over 500 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic exhibition catalogues, some 1700 collectible character figurines, and more than 12,000 exclusive Walt Disney Family Museum pins.

2012 Highlights

Previously: Maurice Sendak exhibit coming to Walt Disney Family Museum.