The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the Walt Disney Company are pairing up to debut an exhibition drawn from the Disney archives, The New York Times reported, making for an unusual intersection of politics and cartoon fantasy under one roof.
The Simi Valley, Calif. Library, which is run by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, will feature 12,000 square feet of cartoon sketches, costumes, storyboards and props, the Times reported.
The exhibition has made for some interesting co-existences, such as a reproduction of Walt Disney’s office and the reproduction of Reagan’s Oval Office and Mickey and Minnie Mouse serenading Nancy Reagan with “Happy Birthday” when she appeared at the opening ceremony this month, according to the Times. Mickey and Minnie also presented her with a jar of jelly beans.
Reagan library officials hope the pairing will translate into more visitors and more business for the gift shop, which will sell Disney memorabilia alongside Reagan items. So far, it’s worked, with shop revenues five times higher than usual, the Times reported.
“We are always looking for creative ways to bring new and younger audiences to the library,” John D. Heubusch, the executive director of the Reagan Foundation, said the day the exhibit opened, according to the Times. “There were huge lines out the doors.”
Library staff members approached Disney archivists last year with the idea of an exhibition. The library offered build an 8,000-square-foot tent to hold more Disney memorabilia and said it would finance any exhibit and sell Disney merchandise in its shop, the Times reported
Among items is the storybook used in 1937 to film the opening sequence for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” recently restored by the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., the Times reported.
“These presidential museums belong to everybody and should have a wide appeal,” Timothy Naftali, a former director of the Nixon presidential museum in Yorba Linda, Calif., told the Times “It shouldn’t just be for the presidential historians.”
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