Preserving and presenting Walt Disney's personal legacy is the driving force behind the new Walt Disney Family Museum, which opened in San Francisco on Oct. 1. Seeing and hearing Walt talk about his childhood, his family life and his innovations adds a compelling aspect that renderings, photos and plaques alone cannot achieve.
And while Cast Members may know plenty about the park he created but little about the man himself, the museum provides the backstory behind several of Walt's innovations.
Sharing his private life via family home movies and personal artifacts, and seeing Walt at various stages in his life creates a connection between the museum visitor and Walt. One might almost feel they are looking back into a long lost family album when they witness his wedding day or spend time in the pool at home with the kids.
The museum presents Walt's life in 10 chronological exibits that feature items ranging from original documents and objects to interactive components such as listening stations and touch-screen tables. There are a variety of objects on display-including animation cels, Walt's high school notebook doodles, a fiddle owned by Walt's father and a whole roomful of the awards Walt received in his life.
The opening of the Walt Disney Family Museum occurs during a year that marks a significant milestone in Disney history that may go largely unnoticed: This year, Disney marks its 43rd year without Walt- the same number of years he led his company before passing away in 1966.
So as Disney begins an era that sees it existing more years without Walt than with him, it seems an appropriate time for this museum to come along and remind us that The Walt Disney Company was- and still is- all about Walt Disney.