Washington State History Museum announcement.
Tacoma, WA – Do you remember Gumby? Are you a Simpsons fan? Have you mimicked the voice of Scooby Doo, or made your own stop-motion animated film? You’ll love learning more about the magical world of cartoons and animation through a new interactive exhibition at the Washington State History Museum. The Animation Academy: From Pencils to Pixels, created by Stage Nine Entertainment Inc., opens October 6, 2022 and will be at the History Museum in Tacoma through January 12, 2023.
What does animation have to do with Washington history? Mary Mikel Stump, the museum’s director of exhibitions and programs, explains: “The Washington State Historical Society explores how history connects us all. Washington has a strong history of cartoonists and animators who have captured historic events and social movements as well as other storytelling in their art. More broadly, many of us have memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons in our pajamas or being awe-struck by an amazing CGI movie on the big screen. Animation and cartoons are a part of our shared cultural experience, and they have a fascinating history.”
The Animation Academy takes visitors deep into the entertaining world of this art form, from the classics of traditional hand drawn cels to the ever changing world of computer-generated imagery. Visitors can create and experiment at the many interactive stations in the exhibition. The galleries also feature historical treasures from a variety of studios and collections including The Clokey Estate, Chuck Jones Center Archive, and Screen Novelties.
The exhibition’s enormous, six-foot zoetrope shows classics such as The Simpsons, Felix and Gumby. What is a zoetrope, you may wonder? It’s an animation technology invented in 1834, credited to mathematician William Horner. A series of illustrations line the inside of a spinning cylinder; above the illustrations are evenly spaced slits. When the zoetrope spins and a viewer watches through the slits, it creates the illusion of continuous motion. It is both low tech and effective!
“With The Animation Academy, we share the magic that goes into animated movies and television, from concept to launch,” explains exhibit director and owner of Stage Nine, Troy Carlson. “It also gives us the opportunity to help educate the next generation of animators with unprecedented access to archival examples and information about the top animation studios.”
Cases in the gallery display unique 3-D models and collectibles from the industry and films that have made history, as well as original artwork from the classics including pencil drawings, painted cels, and painted backgrounds. Major areas are be dedicated to the various styles of animation, such as American classic cartoon characters, Saturday Morning Cartoons, prime time TV cartoons, and stop motion animation.
The Washington State History Museum will also feature Fine Lines, a complementary exhibition drawn from its own collections. Visitors will see original cartoons dating as far back as the early 1900s, many featuring political commentary of the day. Fine Lines opens November 5, 2022 and be on view through June 11, 2023, with artwork rotations throughout the run of the exhibition.
The Washington State History Museum will host a special member’s night on October 8, and is offering birthday party specials while The Animation Academy is on view.
“Learning about the history of animation is captivating and fun. We’re really looking forward to sharing this lively, active exhibit with our communities,” Mary Mikel Stump added.
For more information, see www.WashingtonHistory.org/animation.