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The Man Behind The Mouse: Walt Disney Family Museum

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The Walt Disney Family Museum is one of the Bay Area’s newest attractions. Opened in 2009, it beautifully showcases the fascinating and inspiring story of Walt Disney, the beloved creator of Mickey Mouse, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disneyland and much more. He was a risk-taker who influenced popular culture through animated and live-action films, television programs, theme parks and new technologies and whose artistry, imagination and vision helped define 20th-century America.

Located in a brick building, once barracks, on the Main Post of San Francisco’s Presidio, the Museum features 40,000 square feet of the newest technology, historic materials, and artifacts to bring Disney’s achievements to life with ten interactive galleries that include early drawings and animation, movies, music, a 14-foot model of Disneyland and much more. The Museum tells the story of the man behind the myth in Disney’s own voice and in contemporary exhibits that feature state-of-the-art technologies, listening stations, and more than 200 video screens. Visitors can also enjoy the Museum store and the 114-seat Fantasia-themed theater which shows Disney classics six days a week.

Image 1: The Walt Disney Family Museum located in a former Army barracks on the Main Post in the Presidio of San Francisco.

Image 2: In 1928 after losing the rights to a character he had helped develop, Walt Disney had to come up with a new creation. His wife, Lillian, recalled, “He was talking about different things, kittens and cats, this and that and the other. He kept talking about a mouse.” Walt later said, “And then the name came. I had Mortimer first and my wife shook her head and then I tried Mickey and she shook her head the other way and that was it.”

Image 3: “Co-founded by Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, and namesake grandson, Walter E.D. Miller, the Museum is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, a non-profit organization. A series of one and two week summer  camps encourage children to explore  acting onstage, learn the secrets behind special effects, create an animated short, unwrap the magic  of illusions, explore the outdoors with a video camera, create a comic  book hero and more. “

Image 4: Walt Disney reads a bedtime story to his daughters, Sharon (left) and Diane (right).

“We are committed to telling the story of Walt Disney’s life, in his own words and in the words of others who knew him well and worked with him. My father was very open, and in the many conversations and interviews that you will hear in the galleries, you learn the story of his life. It is a wonderful story, and Dad himself loved to tell it. Thanks to the amazing work of many dedicated people, we are fortunate to be able to tell it here using the tools he worked with including art, music, film and technology to present an honest yet affectionate portrait of this amazing artist and man.”


The Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery Street
The Presidio, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94129


Images Courtesy of  Walt Disney Family Foundation and Ric Miller, Jim Smith, Drew Altizer, Cesar Rubio Photography ©Disney

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