- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Visit Museum of the Moving Image
Museum of the Moving Image advances the understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media by presenting exhibitions, education programs, significant moving-image works, and interpretive programs, and collecting and preserving moving-image related artifacts.
Each year the Museum screens more than 400 films in a stimulating mix of the classic and the contemporary. With live music for silent films, restored prints from the world's leading archives, and outstanding new films from the international festival circuit, Museum programs are recognized for their quality as well as their scope. The Museum’s diverse screening program presents a panoramic view of the moving image, from the global discoveries presented in the annual showcase First Look to the popular ongoing series See It Big!, which celebrates the excitement and immersive power of big-screen moviegoing.
The Pinewood Dialogues, an ongoing series of conversations with creative professionals in film, television, and digital media made possible by the Pinewood (now Pannonia) Foundation, has brought to the Museum’s stage such leading figures as Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, David Cronenberg, Charles Burnett, Tim Burton, Todd Haynes, Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Thomas Anderson, Glenn Close, Jim Jarmusch, Terry Gilliam, David Mamet, Bill Cosby, Joan Ganz Cooney, and Frank Oz. Many of these conversations are available online.
The Museum’s core exhibition, Behind the Screen, immerses visitors in the creative process of making moving images. It features over 1,400 artifacts, from nineteenth-century optical toys to video games, as well as an array of interactive experiences, audiovisual material, and artworks.
The Museum presents an ambitious slate of large- and small-scale changing exhibitions, video and art installations, and unique live events. In the third-floor Changing Exhibitions Gallery, the Museum has hosted a range of exhibitions from Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, which drew record-breaking crowds to the Museum, to Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off, an interactive exhibition which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first digital video game. It has also featured the work of artists like the Dutch-Belgian digital art duo JODI and the experimental filmmaker Phil Solomon. The Museum's Amphitheater Gallery has been home to exhibitions and installations about the work of legendary Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, the making of the DreamWorks Animation film, Rise of the Guardians, and much more. In the Museum's lobby, visitors have been greeted with video work by artists like Chiho Aoshima and Christopher Baker and installations on Internet culture such as We Tripped El Hadji Diouf and The Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gestureon the 50-foot-long Herbert S. Schlosser Media Wall
The Museum’s curriculum-based education programs are an unparalleled resource for middle- and high-school students and their teachers. Many student visitors are from the New York City public schools and surrounding area, though the Museum regularly provides programs for students traveling from around the country and around the world. Through guided tours of its exhibitions, educational screening programs and hands-on workshops, the Museum serves approximately 50,000 students each year in the new Ann and Andrew Tisch Education Center. The Museum also offers professional development seminars and workshops for teachers, and after-school programs that develop academic and technical skills. The Museum serves thousands more children, teens, and families in weekend and summer studios, workshops, hack jams, courses, and camps.
The Museum maintains the nation's largest and most comprehensive collection of artifacts relating to the art, history, and technology of the moving image—one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. Begun at the Museum's inception in 1981, today the collection comprises more than 130,000 artifacts from every stage of producing, promoting, and exhibiting motion pictures, television, and digital media, from pre-cinema optical toys to 21st-century digital technology. The collection also includes significant works of art by such artists as Red Grooms and Nam June Paik. More than 1,400 collection artifacts are currently on display in the Museum's core exhibition, Behind the Screen, and thousands more can be seen on the Museum’s on-line collection database, collection.movingimage.us.
The Museum has been at the forefront in the use of its website for groundbreaking exhibitions. The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952–2016, an invaluable archive of ads from every presidential election since the first Eisenhower versus Stevenson campaign, is used by millions of people around the world. Sloan Science and Film, made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is devoted to the public understanding of science through its depiction in film. And Reverse Shot, the acclaimed online film magazine, edited by Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert, was recently added as a publication of the Museum. Articles and video essays published on Moving Image Source, the Museum's predecessor to Reverse Shot, will continue to be available as an archive.
Since its opening in 1988, Museum of the Moving Image has been recognized as a major, internationally-reputed institution and the only museum in the United States dedicated to exploring the art, history, and technology of the moving image.
The Museum occupies one of the thirteen buildings that comprised the former Astoria Studio complex. Originally built by Famous Players-Lasky—known as Paramount after 1927—as their East Coast production facility in 1920, the studio was the site of hundreds of silent and early sound era film productions. The studio was taken over in 1942 by the U.S. Army to produce training films for WWII soldiers and renamed the Signal Corps Photographic Center. Following the Army's departure in 1970, the site fell into disrepair. Through the efforts of a consortium of New York City and federal government representatives, union officials and other industry professionals, the Astoria Motion Picture and Television Center Foundation was established in 1977 to restore the Astoria Studio complex to productive use. In 1978, the Foundation successfully returned the studio to feature film production, and obtained listing of the site on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1980, real estate developer George Kaufman was selected to operate the studio facilities. Shortly after, Rochelle Slovin was appointed Executive Director of the Foundation. Under her leadership, the Foundation’s Board of Directors committed to create a museum of film and television at the complex. In 1982, the City of New York set aside one of the original studio buildings for the proposed museum.
In 1985, the Foundation was reincorporated as the American Museum of the Moving Image (now Museum of the Moving Image). The Museum opened to the public in 1988 in a building renovated by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.
The Museum was granted accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2006. On February 27, 2008, the inauguration of the Museum’s $67 million expansion and renovation was held and construction began. The museum opened its redesigned and expanded building, designed by Leeser Architecture, on January 15, 2011.