With the academy announcing at the 2019 Oscars that they are opening one of the largest film museums in the world, it’s only natural that I look back on some truly incredible cinematic museums that I have had the privilege of going to on my travels. From Asia to America, I have been to some inspiring museums, all dedicated to film in one way or another.
- The Museum of Moving Image – Queens, New York
This little gem of a museum is located in Queens which is honestly worth a trip all on its own. The museum is dedicated to all aspects of moving image, this is film, media, photography, video games and art. When I went in January 2019, they had an exhibit on sesame street (big bird is huge and terrifying) on top of this, we saw some film props, costumes, cameras and toys from films, this was stuff like Star Trek lunch boxes from the 1960s and happy meal boxes with The Flintstone toys. It made me wonder what are we just throwing out now or giving to charity shops that will be future museum pieces. The museum also has a section for film hair and make up. This was incredibly interesting, they had stuff from Some Like it Hot and MGM 1950s productions. They also screen some modern and classic films, be sure to check out the dates for these events as they looked really fun.
2. Hong Kong Film Archive – Hong Kong
I was lucky enough to go to Hong Kong last year and it was a complete dream trip. Not only is a beautiful place, it also has a great film community. The film network in Asia is huge on its own right, it makes huge amounts of money and can support itself without exporting it to the rest of the world. I was there for a week, and in this time, we went to the Hong Kong Film Archive, a truly magical place. What made this building special was the staff were honestly so happy with their work and they had so much love for preserving film (a really important job!) the way they explained all the processing was amazing, and I don’t think until then I really understood all that happens around film preservation and restoration.
3. The Berlin Film Museum – Germany
A couple of years ago I went to the Berlin Film Festival (2017). It was my first film festival and it completely opened up a new world for me. I was in Berlin for two weeks, and during this time of premieres, parks, parliaments and abandoned airports, we decided to take a trip to the Sony centre, to the film museum. We were allowed in with our passes for the festival, but without that, you’d have to pay eight euros. While I can’t directly remember everything there, I do very much remember almost screaming upon seeing the Maria robot costume from Metropolis (1927). There is also an amazing gift shop, with hundreds of books and some incredible German silent film additions.
4. Cinema Museum – Paris, France
Summer of 2017, my chum Julia and I went to Paris for an adorable week. We literally did as much as we could in this time, and one afternoon we went to the Paris film museum. This place specializes in historical film, for example they had a lot of silent cinema frames and stills, over anything else. Would I go back? Sure if I had the time, its a little small and there’s not a crazy amount of stuff to see, but it was certainly interesting! What is also worth noting is we spent two days at Disneyland. Disneyland has a two parks, the main castle one, and the studios, at the studios there is a load of animation inspired areas that are really cool for that side of film making.
5. The London Film Museum – London, UK
This space in London’s answer to a strong film museum. With a current exhibitionism on James Bond, the museum is focused on British cinema, as well as international. Its relatively cheap, around £9.50 for a student ticket or £13 for a full priced one. Its located in Covent Garden, which in itself is a really beautiful and vibrant part of central London. I really recommend taking a trip to this museum, as London and New York as used so much in modern and historical cinema, you can also catch some filming locations after it.
That concludes my little cinema museum experience, I am jetting of to LA next week, and there’s a bunch of museums there I want to try out!
Thanks for reading as always,