Turns out, Mickey Mouse doesn’t just live in Anaheim or Orlando. He also resides in a San Francisco park, across from the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s here, at the Walt Disney Family Museum, that Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World, waits to share its magic with the public from now until January 2020.
From his earliest black and white form on filmstrips to his full-color, computer-graphic generated speaking version, Mickey grows and changes before our eyes in the two-floor exhibition celebrating one of animation’s most beloved characters and the impression he made on the world.
“Mickey Mouse is a symbol of animation,” Andreas Deja, guest curator and Disney’s resident specialist for the animation of Mickey Mouse tells Parentology. “Mickey is the first animated superstar.”
And Mickey’s star power is felt throughout Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World.
After drawings from original Mickey animators and pictures of Walt in the 1920s, the exhibit winds into a room of colorful pictures and videos from the original “Mickey Mouse Club” show. Another room displays vibrant Mickey movie posters from the 1950s and 1960s. Still to see, a sketches, drawings and movie clips of Mickey coming to life in “Fantasia.”
How to draw Mickey is the focus of another space. Pages from sketchbooks show step-by-step how to create the famous mouse. Above are cut outs of black and white drawings of Mickey running around the top of the room. “One of my first ideas for the exhibit was Mickey taking up space instead of just being on the walls,” Dejas says. “We wanted kids to observe how each pose changes from one to the others.”
Taking Mickey even further off the page are displays of Mickey alarm clocks, figurines, dishes, trains, tea sets, and toys. These show how merchandising brought Mickey further into people’s lives around the world. The room includes posters in several languages, a former ride-on Mickey from a carousel and a wall display of Mickey and his gang from a London store.
Mickey’s different personalities come alive with audio samplings from voice artists and sketches from his many animators through the years, including Dejas.
The first floor concludes with several strips highlighting Mickey in comics. A nice touch is the interactive display in the hallway between floors asking for visitors to write down how their favorite Mickey memories and how Mickey and Minnie impacted and inspired them.
Still to come, a fantastical journey of Mickey’s influence on the world. This space begins with the popularity of the Walt Disney World Parks and Mickey’s animated resurgence in the early 1980s with “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and ends with his animated children’s show on the Disney channel. In between are several paintings and portraits of Mickey by well-known artists such as Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, John Pomeroy and Charles Shultz.
Two artists — Matsumi Kanemitsu and Sirron Norris — have interactive pictures, where guests are invited to find hidden images of Mickey’s famous silhouette.
What Dejas hears from people who’ve seen the exhibit — they “walk through and see all of this happiness; it lifts you up.”
Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World, a celebration of animation’s most beloved and recognizable character is running at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California now through early January 2020.