Shirley Temple Black's Family Gives $5M Gift to Academy Museum

Shirley Temple Black

The gift includes such memorabilia as the actress' miniature Oscar.

The family of the late Shirley Temple Black has donated a gift valued at more than $5 million to the new Academy Museum, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

The gift includes both a monetary contribution to the capital campaign as well as key artifacts from the actress’ early career. In recognition of the gift, the museum’s education center will be named The Shirley Temple Education Studio.

The gift includes such objects as the miniature Oscar presented to her at the 1934 Academy Awards in recognition of her screen work that year; the tap shoes and portable wooden practice-steps given to her by legendary dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson for their famed stair dance routine in 1934's The Little Colonel; the star’s first set-chair from Fox Studios; and the ornate Los Angeles public-school system desk she used for her daily lessons on the Fox lot. 

Shirley Temple, who rose to prominence as one of Hollywood’s biggest child stars the 1930s, went on to a second career as a U.S. Ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia and also served as Chief of Protocol of the United States before her death in 2014.

"Shirley Temple Black captivated audiences as an actor and her work as a diplomat touched countless lives," Bob Iger, who is chairing the capital campaign along with co-chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks, said. "Her gift to the Academy Museum ensures her work will continue to inspire future generations of film lovers."

The Shirley Temple Education Studio will be the center of the museum's education program, which will draw upon the expertise of Academy members, artists, and scholars in a range of disciplines to explore cinema history and the collaborative process of filmmaking. The program will provide hands-on workshops in movie-making techniques, as well as inspire creativity and critical thinking. A core feature of the program will be its teen initiative, serving students from diverse backgrounds in the greater Los Angeles area, the Academy said.

"Our mother believed that the Academy museum project will provide the key to broader public understanding both of the movie industry’s history and of its future," the Black family said in a statement. "We are so pleased with the Academy’s naming of the Shirley Temple Education Studio, and again encourage our mother’s many admirers to join us in supporting the museum and its new Education Studio with a donation honoring her memory." 

"We know Academy Museum visitors will be elated to see these treasures," said Kerry Brougher, museum director. "This generous gift is a significant addition to our collection. The Shirley Temple Education Studio will provide students with opportunities to build meaningful connections with the finest creative minds in filmmaking today."

The Academy is currently raising $388 million to support the building, exhibitions and programs of the museum, which is scheduled to open in 2018.