Today at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History’s Warner Bros. Theater, Bob Chapek, Chairman Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products, and John Gray, the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the National Museum of American History, jointly announced that Disney’s theme parks will make the largest single artifact donation in the history of the museum. The donation and transfer of artifacts, which range from giant snowflakes to theme park dinosaurs, is expected to be completed by August 2019.
Highlights of the collection being transferred to the museum, which will be showcased in a brand new exhibition hall, include:
The complete set of Audio-Animatronic© dinosaurs, prehistoric sets, and background paintings, from Epcot’s “Universe of Energy” pavilion
The sets from Disneyland’s legendary “Adventure Thru Inner Space”
An original film print of the 3D theme park classic “Magic Journeys”
A rare Mark I Disneyland-Alweg monorail car
A WEDway Peoplemover train from the Houston Intercontinental Airport
The frozen body of Walt Disney, stored at Disneyland for more than fifty years and never before seen by the public
An original Club 33 contract, signed in blood by television personality Art Linkletter
Props and costumes from “Fantasmic” at Disneyland
A Disney’s Hollywood Studios tour tram from the Walt Disney World Resort
According to Gray, “Disney Parks have played a pivotal role in shaping the American cultural conversation. We have begun construction on a new building on the Mall to house all these amazing artifacts which shaped the dreams of not only many Americans, but dreamers around the world.”
Chapek applauded the Smithsonian for its dedication to preserving and sharing American culture with the world. “We are very excited to participate with the Smithsonian and its National Museum of American History in bringing the history of Disney Parks to life for future generations of Americans and other visitors from around the globe.”
In a press briefing after the announcement, Smithsonian and Disney representatives made very clear that there might be delays in the transfer taking place due to legal and logistical concerns, including the fact that this press release is not real and is intended as an April Fools Day joke.