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The Walt Disney Archives is Coming to North Texas in September

Left: collection of vintage disney memorabilia including mickey mouse items. right: roadside sign reading "welcome to texas - drive friendly - the texas way" with green surroundings.
Credit: Walt Disney Archives/Canva

The Walt Disney Archives is coming to the Lone Star State, and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity may never come around again.

breaking the heart of walt disney

Credit: Disney Archives/Canva

Preserving The Walt Disney Company’s Legacy

The Walt Disney Company is more than 100 years old, celebrating its centennial anniversary in October 2023, and preserving and protecting the legacy of the company is something that Disney takes very seriously.

Disney logo graphic design celebrates 100 years with new details

Credit: Disney

Related: Walt Disney Shares His Secrets to Success From Beyond the Grave

For more than 40 years now, the Walt Disney Archives has served to safeguard some of the most treasured items, including film props, costumes, and more, from Disney’s beloved history.

Per The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Archives had its beginning in 1970 while Disney was still reeling over the passing of its founder, Walt Disney. At the time, Walt’s brother and the Chairman of Board Roy O. Disney, wanted to ensure that as key imagineers and animators began to retire, their vast knowledge of Disney history was not forgotten.

As fate would have it, Dave Smith who at the time was researching at the UCLA library overheard Disney executives discussing the establishment of a company archive. Dave decided to take a leap and pitch them a plan to set one in motion and on June 22, 1970, he was officially hired as Disney’s first archivist. Talk about being at the right place at the right time!

Since then, the Walt Disney Archives has curated millions of items and produced numerous exhibits for the public.

A collage of images showing an exhibition of movie memorabilia, including costumes, posters, and models from various films displayed in a gallery setting.

Credit: D23

Now, a part of the Archives is coming to North Texas, making it easier for some fans to lay eyes on some of The Walt Disney Company’s most treasured pieces of nostalgia.

Burbank’s Disney Archives Comes to the Lone Star State

In September 2024, fans in and around the North Texas area will be closer to the magic than ever when the Walt Disney Archives opens in the city of Arlington, Texas, approximately 21 miles due west of Dallas.

Beginning on September 14, 2024, the Arlington Museum of Art will welcome two magical exhibits from the Walt Disney Archives: Heroes & Villians: The Art of the Disney Costume and All That Glitters: The Crown Jewels of the Walt Disney Archives.

Two contrasting movie costumes on mannequins: on the left, a historical red and beige coat with brass buttons. on the right, a dark, dramatic fantasy costume with a horned headpiece and flowing black textures.

Gaston’s coat worn by Luke Evans (L)/Maleficent’s christening dress worn by Angelina Jolie (R)/Credit: Walt Disney Archives

Two Unique Exhibits From the Walt Disney Archives

Walt Disney Archives will pack up more than 300 pieces spanning more than 65 years of film and television history and bring them to North Texas in two dazzling and unique exhibits sure to delight Disney fans of all ages.

An elegant, shimmering blue ball gown, featuring puffed sleeves and a full skirt, set against a twinkling starry background, creating a magical, enchanting scene.

Cinderella’s ball gown worn by Lily James/Credit: Walt Disney Archives

Per the Arlington Museum of Art:

“Heroes & Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume” immerses visitors in the textural storytelling and character development woven into Disney’s iconic costumes. The exhibition is organized into three Disney archetypes: heroes, villains, and the spaces between, dedicated to the complex and intriguing antiheroes of Disney storytelling.

“All That Glitters: The Crown Jewels of the Walt Disney Archives” dazzles with prized pieces of jewelry and accessories. From crowns and tiaras to watches, rings and necklaces, this exhibition gives visitors the rare opportunity to see these iconic jewels up-close, while gaining an understanding of how integral they are to completing the ensemble and informing the character.

An elegant suit ensemble featuring a detailed, long coat, with vest, shirt, and tie, displayed on an invisible mannequin against a textured, light brown background.

Captain Hook’s costume from Disney’s “Once Upon a Time”/Credit: Walt Disney Archives

“When we meet a Disney character for the first time, we instantly begin to understand them,” said Chris Hightower, president and CEO of the Arlington Museum of Art.

He continued, saying, “That is how extraordinarily important costume design is to conveying persona. By bringing these two exhibitions together for the first time, the Arlington Museum of Art surrounds visitors in the transformative power of wardrobe while celebrating the artists whose creativity and talent are conveyed in every design, every stitch, and every jewel.”

What Will Fans See in the Exhibits?

The Heroes & Villians exhibit will include original costumes from the Walt Disney Archives, including those seen in the live-action Beauty and the Beast (2018), Once Upon a Time, the television series that ran from 2011 to 2018, Mary Poppins Returns (2018), and Hocus Pocus 2 (2022), among other films and series.

Related: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Actor Passes Away “Suddenly and Unexpectedly”

belle in live action disney beauty and the beast

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

All That Glitters: The Crown Jewels of the Walt Disney Archives will feature iconic jewelry and accessories, including tiaras, crowns, necklaces, rings, and watches worn by actors and actresses in Disney films and television series. Not only will fans have the opportunity to see the pieces up close, but they’ll also have the chance to learn about the important roles such pieces play in defining Disney’s characters.

Related: Young Fan Swears She Saw Walt Disney at the Airport. She Was Right.

A royal crown adorned with diamonds and precious gems, placed on a red velvet cushion with gold embroidery and tassels, against a white background.

Mia’s coronation crown worn by Anne Hathaway in “The Princess Diaries 2” (2004)/Credit: Walt Disney Archives

This exhibit will include five individual presentations:

  • Every Little Detail – Over 80 small pieces from earrings, cuff links, rings, and more
  • The Feature Vault – A collection of crowns, tiaras, necklaces, and pendants
  • Watches Through the Decades –  Showcases the Walt Disney Archives’ collection of wrist and pocket watches
  • Made for Screen – Presents the process of creating some of the most iconic jewelry props
  • Reflections of Reality – Showcases jewelry and accessories that were heavily influenced and inspired by real-life people and stories.
A large, intricately designed gold pendant featuring a skull at its center, displayed on a gray mannequin neck form under focused lighting.

Elizabeth Swann’s necklace as seen in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003)/Credit: Walt Disney Archives

Pieces within the collection include those seen in Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement (2004), The Little Mermaid (2023), and others.

Tickets for the exhibition go on sale in June. This special collection will be on exhibit from September 14, 2024, to March 23, 2025. For more information, visit the Arlington Museum of Art by clicking here.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

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