Skip to content

The Walt Disney Disney Studios and World War II museum exhibit

donald duck world war ii key image

The Walt Disney Family Museum has announced a new special exhibition exploring The Walt Disney Studios and its efforts during World War II. It was a difficult time for the studios with many of its animators and artists serving in the armed forces, but Walt put the might of the studio to work (not to mention the physical plant) contributing to the Allies’ World War II effort.

Curated by World War II historian Kent Ramsey, and commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, this immersive exhibition will be displayed in the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall from May 13, 2020 through January 11, 2021.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Disney studio lot in Burbank was requisitioned as an Army anti-aircraft base. Walt and his staff supported the war effort without hesitation, devoting over 90% of their wartime output to producing training, propaganda, entertainment, and public-service films, while also designing an extensive collection of insignia and print media. This original exhibition will include rarely-seen artwork, film clips, photos, literature, and other historical objects and ephemera from this unique period in animation history.

As the anchor attraction in the Presidio of San Francisco, The Walt Disney Family Museum is an ideal location for The Walt Disney Studios and World War II. The Presidio served as an active U.S. Army base from 1846 until 1994, when it was decommissioned and designated a National Park. Constructed in 1897, the main museum building is one of five prominent brick Army barracks on the Main Parade Ground. The museum also occupies a second brick building, built in 1908, which served as a combination gymnasium and post exchange, and which now houses the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall.

The Walt Disney Family Museum already provides free admission to the museum and this exhibition year-round for active and retired military personnel, as well as their spouses and dependents with valid ID. The Museum also participates in the Blue Star Museums program, which grants free general admission to all military ID holders—active, retired, spouses, or dependents—and up to five of their family members between Armed Forces Day (Saturday, May 16, 2020) and Labor Day (Monday, September 7, 2020).