Henry Ford Museum Announces, “The Science Behind Pixar” Exhibit


The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn is hosting a traveling exhibit called, “The Science Behind Pixar” from Oct. 14, 2017 – March 18, 2018. The 40 interactive elements of the exhibit provide a unique look into Pixar’s animated films and their characters.

Each of the eight sections of the exhibit — modeling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting, and rendering — highlight each step in the filmmaking process.

“The inspiration for the exhibit is to peel away and find out what actually goes into creating a computer animated film,” says Kate Morland, Henry Ford’s museum and exhibits manager. “Also, to inspire kids and visitors of all ages with the science behind something that so many of them enjoy. This exhibit is highly interactive and highly digital. It speaks well to today’s up and coming audiences. It is really where the museum field is going.

The exhibit will showcase the science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) concepts that artists and computer scientists use to create Pixar’s films.

“The STEAM fields are increasingly all around us. They’re a good fit with the museum’s collections because you can look at them as history and as science,” adds Morland. “I want to break down the perception that the past is in the past. The past is still meaningful to us today. So, we can have an exhibit, like Pixar, in a museum that has historical artifacts because we want to talk today about the science, the technology, and the art of today. In the future, we will look back on that as being formative to where we are going.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to listen to firsthand accounts from members of the studio’s production teams. They will also have the chance to recreate their favorite Pixar film characters, including Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode, and WALL•E.

Originally started in 1979 as a computer hardware company within Lucasfilm, Pixar launched its own computer system to develop graphics and visualization. The company created the Pixar Image Computer (PIC) in 1984 for high-end graphics and animation. The PIC became popular within the medical and science fields, as well as with companies like Disney. For example, the technology was used to create the ballroom scene in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” film in 1991.

“The exhibit keeps the museum up to date,” says Morland. “Many of our items were collected when they were new. As people living in the 21st century, we have this whole heritage of innovators of the past who can inspire the future. This exhibit is a look at innovators of the present. Hopefully, when kids come through this exhibit they’ll be inspired, whether it’s in animation or another field, to learn everything that they can about a field today and then become leaders of the future.”

Admission to the exhibit is $5, in addition to the admission price to the museum for non-members. More information about the exhibit can be found here.

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