Also known as the American Museum of Moving Image, this testament to movie-making is located at 3601 35th Avenue in Astoria, (Queens) NY. The museum is open Tuesday-Friday from 10am-4pm, Saturday-Sunday from 12pm-6pm, with group tours given Tuesday-Friday from 9:30am-5:30pm. Admission is free, although as a donation $10 is recommended for adults, $7.50 for students and $5 for all other patrons.
Currently, the museum is closed for renovations until January 15, 2011, however if you’re looking to check out the museum over the holiday season, you can still view the “Behind the Screen” exhibit, the popular feature which made the museum notorious, until December 23, 2010. If you wish to attend this exhibit, you must make a group appointment with either fellow classmates or adults, consisting of a minimum of eight people. Appointments can be made by phone or email, and each person will be charged an admissions fee of $5.
Specifically, the museum holds over 130,000 artifacts from all stages of movie-making, including still photos, costumes, magazines, licensed merchandise, video games and more. They also offer film screenings of some of the most prominent films in history, typically offered with special appearances by actors, critics, historians and directors associated with the film. These range from silent films to new international films from various film festivals. Attendees will receive original notes and unique background information before each film’s screening to better equip themselves with the film’s importance in the world of art and movie history.
As mentioned previously, the Moving Image Museum is known for it’s popular exhibition “Behind the Screen,” which has been praised by NY-based websites, newspapers and patrons alike. In this exhibit, movie-lovers will witness and experience how movies are made, produced, publicized and displayed. Included are interactive exhibits, video clips, commissioned art and historical artifacts, while patrons are free to engage in activities like making animations, creating flip-picture books, playing with sound effects and more. While “Behind the Screen” uses objects to examine film’s role in history and society, “Navigating the Digital World” explores how digital art and video games have and continue to influence our current state of media. Educators and teachers are encouraged to take part in the museum’s workshops and after-school programs which seek to promote creativity and expression among students through the use of technology an animation.
To get a better idea of what the museum offers, patrons are encouraged to visit their website, “Moving Image Source,” where viewers can read original articles from critics and scholars and keep updated on international exhibitions, book and DVD releases, while similar sites like “Sloan Science and Film” offer patrons the opportunity to read original articles on the role of science in film and view original award-winning films from students.
The site of the museum has an extensive history, first being built as Paramount’s East Coast Production location, than renamed the Signal Corps Photographic Center for the US Army, restored in 1978 under the Astoria Motion Picture and Television Center Foundation as a listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and finally landing under ownership of the City of New York in order to build a museum dedicated to motion pictures. The project was officially completed in 1988.
As mentioned previously, the museum is currently undergoing renovations which will be completed on January 15, 2011. Included in the renovations is a new gallery which will provide regular ongoing projects of digital interactive art, as well as a new theater which can seat 264 and screening room which can seat 71; the museum will still host over 300 screenings a year, and the new Courtyard Garden will allow outdoor screenings in warm weather. Also included is a renovation of the entire first floor and a three-story addition.
Unlike other museums which simply highlight movie stars with wax figures or movie fashion with tangible clothing artifacts, the Museum of Moving Image seeks to show movie-lovers how film is a medium of art in itself, and how film has changed through advances in technology. They offer both tangible an interactive experiences which serve to both entertain and educate attendees on film technique and film history. Whether you’re majoring in film or simply enjoy watching movies, this is a must-stop place to visit in NY.