Walt Disney's Nine Old Men

Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men Exhibit Features Masters of Animation

The Walt Disney Family Museum announces latest exhibit focused around Walt Disney's Nine Old Men. Known as the "Masters of Animation," the exhibit highlights the works of core animators, Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman and Frank Thomas.

I recently visited the Walt Disney Family Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco. Set in a beautiful retired US Navy barracks, the museum serves as a tribute to the man who changed entertainment for the world. Beginning today there will be a new exhibit opening up at the museum. Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: Masters of Animation.

This new exhibit is curated by Academy Award nominated producer Don Hahn. Hahn is responsible for such hits as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. The exhibit runs through January 7, 2019.

The Influence of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men

Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men celebrates the talents and contributions of the men who helped revolutionize the world of entertainment. These core animators include Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Frank Thomas.

Their influence on The Walt Disney Studio’s culture and pioneering animation techniques still inspire the works of the studio today. These “Masters of Animation” drove the next generation of animators, establishing a foundation for great animated films. Contemporary animators like Hahn, Andreas Deja, Brad Bird, Tim Burton, and Glen Keane all credit these early artists as lighting the spark of imagination that drove their best works.

Hahn’s curation features hundreds of one-of-a-kind objects, many of which have been loaned to the museum by Walt Disney Animation Research Library. It provides guests the opportunity to see items rarely exhibited and even some that have never been shown to the public.

“This exhibition presented a rare chance to work with the families of the Nine Old Men, who opened their homes and collections to us…This gives us a chance to show a spectacular collection of personal artifacts and ephemera items never seen by the public that help tell each animator’s individual story and reveal how they collectively elevated character animation to an art form.”
– Don Hahn

The Walt Disney Family Museum Experience

Visitors experience the personal artwork, sculptures, and flip books of these animators along with with hundreds of animated drawings. It also showcases rarely seen pencil tests and final color scenes that showcase their genius. That genius brought the works of Pinocchio (1940), Bambi (1942), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), and Sleeping Beauty (1959). Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men provides a look into the work that changed animated feature history and the world of animation we know today.

The Walt Disney Family Museum, founded in 2009, displays the life and legacy of Walt Disney with 40,000 square feet of historical materials and artifacts.

Walt Disney Family Museum Tickets

  • General admission: $25 adults
  • Seniors & Students: $20
  • Youth (Ages 6-17): $15
  • General admission + special exhibition combo ticket: $30 adults
  • Seniors & Students: $25
  • Youth: $15
  • Free for museum members and children under 5

Hours of Operation

  • Wednesday through Monday, 10am to 6pm.
    • Limited hours on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve
  • Closed Tuesdays and the following holidays:
    • New Years Day
    • Thanksgiving Day
    • Christmas Day

How to Get There

The Walt Disney Family Museum is located at The Presidio of San Francisco, 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129.

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