New Smithsonian Theater to Showcase History of American Film

New Smithsonian Theater to Showcase History of American Film

New Smithsonian Theater to Showcase History of American Film

Warner Bros. Entertainment recently donated $5 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to create a new theater which will showcase American film history.  The donation will allow the museum to turn the current auditorium into a state-of-the-art theater, complete with 3-D capabilities as well as other modern technology.

The gift is the first time that Time Warner’s entertainment division has offered a major financial contribution to the Smithsonian. 

Currently the Carmichael Auditorium at the Smithsonian seats 270 people and uses outdated technology.  The gift will be used to turn the 46-year-old auditorium into a complex able to project motion pictures in digital 3-D as well as their original 35mm reel format.  The theater will also be used for holding lectures, concerts, and other museum events.

“For more than a century, American movies have provided a strong and enduring national cultural connection that crosses generations,” said Brent D. Glass, museum director. “It continues to shape how we perceive ourselves and how people around the world understand our country.  American film deserves a special home at our museum and the Warner Bros. partnership expands our capacity to tell this unique story and allow museum visitors to explore the legacy of American cinema.”

In recognition of the generous donation, the Smithsonian will rename the auditorium the Warner Bros. Theater when it reopens next year.  Leonard Carmichael will still be honored at the museum with a plaque in the theatre’s lobby as well as with a display about the museum’s history.  Carmichael was the seventh Secretary of the Smithsonian.  The display recognizing his role in the museum’s history will also feature Frank Taylor, the founding director of the Smithsonian.  The display will be located at the National Mall entrance and is expected to open in December of this year.

The museum already features a number of historical film and television artifacts including early motion picture lenses, props, drawings of early cartoons, and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz.  The Smithsonian has said the renovations will allow the theater to continue educating the public on the powerful impact the history of television and films has had on American life.


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