Founded in 1981, Museum of the Moving Image is the nation’s only museum devoted to film, television and digital media. The core exhibition, Behind the Screen, spans two floors and 15,000 square feet and utilizes more than 1,400 historical artifacts, commissioned artworks, video clips and interactive exhibits to show how moving images are made, marketed and shown.
The exhibition traces the craft of making a film or television episode from concept through exhibition, and introduces visitors to the history of the moving image, from the theatrical magic-lantern shows of the 18th century, through the construction of opulent movie palaces in cities across America during the 1920s and 1930s and the rise of television in the 1950s, and up to the present-day impact of the computer on film editing, production design and post-production.
The museum completed a major expansion and renovation, reopening its doors on January 15, 2011. Designed by architect Thomas Leeser, the project doubles the size of the building. It includes a complete redesign of the first floor and and a new theater, screening room, galleries and an education center.
Each year the museum screens more than 400 films in a stimulating mix of the classic and the contemporary. Tickets are included with museum admission.
The museum is located on the site of the historic Astoria Studios, once Paramount Pictures' East Coast facility. Across the street, the Kaufman-Astoria Studios is an active film and television studio. Filmmakers Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Sidney Lumet have all made films there.
Foreign-language films (with English subtitles) are screened on a regular basis.
Museum of the Moving Image offers a family-friendly environment and special events year round. The interactive exhibition Behind the Screen allows visitors to explore how movies, TV shows and video games are created, marketed and shown. See the evolution of moving images from early optical toys, like the Zoetrope, to today’s computer-generated special effects. Visitors can star in their own video flipbook, animate an original cartoon, play classic video arcade games or attend a family workshop and learn how movies are made. Family matinees and workshops are offered every weekend.
Exhibition tours, film and television screenings and hands-on workshops help teach core curriculum with the support of a dynamic and interactive environment.
Behind the Screen (grade 4 through college)
The museum’s core exhibition, Behind the Screen, immerses students in the creative process of making moving images. From Victorian optical toys to digital media, it offers many resources, including artifacts, interactive experiences, one-of-a-kind artworks and demonstrations of professional crafts and equipment.
Screening America (grade 7 through college)
Screening America uses film and television to help teach English, English As a Second Language, social studies and history. Topics include “Silent Comedy and the Immigrant Experience,” “Prejudice and the Jury System,” “Presidential Campaigns, Television, and the Internet,” among others.
Workshops (grades 4 through 12)
Hands-on workshops support learning standards in math, science, and technology. Motion workshops for younger students explore the science that underlies the perception of moving images, while video game programming workshops allow students to build their own versions of a ping-pong-style video game.