Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Treasures of the Walt Disney Archive - Revolution Brewing

We took advantage of a day off to visit Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry specifically to view the traveling exhibit "Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives". The museum is a great family destination and definitely requires a full day to take in most of the exhibits. Other benefits of visiting MSI are you'll likely get a nice long drive with pretty views down Lake Shore Drive and you get to visit a building that was part of the 1893 Columbian Exposition (World's Fair).
The "archives" exhibit is a hard-ticket add-on purchase to your museum admission that allows you into the special section at a specific time. We arrived at the museum a few minutes before our exhibit entry time and looked at the large model train setup and the chicken incubator.
The "archives" exhibit starts with a looping video of the history of Walt Disney and The Walt Disney Company. Next up is some coverage of Walt's early life and his Chicago roots (there is a group trying to restore and preserve Walt's Chicago birthplace - check out http://www.thewaltdisneybirthplace.org). Next, we get the pre-Mickey history with some focus on Alice comedies and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit before moving into the late-twenties and early thirties focus on Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony films.
The following sections covered the making of Snow White and demonstrated the process of making animated feature films. A lot of this section was covered in the form of story boards (lots of reading) and a display of character maquettes - models sculpted of the characters to help animators with perspective and details. The accomplishments of the 1950's seemed to collide into one section with coverage of live-action films, the move to television, and the development of Disneyland. The centerpiece of this area was a mock-up of Walt's office. Some items on display here: letters to Walt from celebrities and presidents, Davy Crockett's cap, a model of The Nautilus, and Mouseketeer artifacts.
There was a large section dedicate to Mary Poppins - likely assembled to help support Saving Mr. Banks. Items on display included outfits, Mary Poppins' bag, the nursery blocks, and snow globe.
The next exhibit area covered the creation of the theme parks. A highlight was seeing (might have been a copy) the live-scale Herb Ryman Disneyland concept drawing. The last video in the main exhibit was the building of EPCOT so the history portion ended in 1982. There was a poster acknowledging the continued Disney legacy with Marvel, Star Wars, etc.
The final portion of the exhibit held a few modern film costumes and props and also housed the Disney Animation Academy. This was similar to the Animation Academy attraction in Disney's Hollywood Studios, except our class was taught by some dirty hippy MSI employee. We got to draw Donald Duck.
We left the museum and headed to lunch. Dave really wanted to go to Revolution Brewing's brewpub. We got in the car and headed North on Lake Shore Drive. We let Siri navigate vs. using our common sense - wrong answer. We got off LSD and ended up in the mess of 3 highways colliding at once on Good Friday lunch hour. It took forever to get uptown and west the mile from the highway to the Logan Square location. After finally finding street parking we walked in the bar to find the last two seats available - by the door - and it's freezing.

They didn't have the one beer we really wanted to try, the coffee porter, so Dave panicked and ordered a beer he's had many times. After an "are you kidding me?" Look from Holly he changed his order. Revolution had a few guest taps and many bottles from other brewers to choose from. They had about twelve of their own beers on tap. For food we went with the sweet potato cake appetizer and burgers. All the food was good. Dave got samples of several other beers and found a few he liked. Revolution keeps their beers true to the style and only over-hops the beers that should be over-hopped. Their Eugene Porter is one of our favorites.

That wrapped up our time in the city. Just shows how much you can cram into a few hours.

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