Disney's Bob Iger to Chair the Capital Campaign To Raise Funds for the New Academy Museum

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Tom Hanks and Annette Bening to serve as co-chairs of the effort to fund construction costs and establish a $50 million endowment.

Bob Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Co., has agreed to serve as chairman of the capital campaign that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is launching to raise funds for the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Annette Bening and Tom Hanks will serve as co-chairs, the Academy announced Wednesday.

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“This is the first step that needed to take place,” Academy president Tom Sherak said. “It says this is real, this is a dream we believe in that now will come true. We have one of the most respected people in our business to spearhead the campaign and two co-chairs who will be our ambassadors to talk about what this means for the industry, for Los Angeles and for the museum community.”

The Academy and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art signed a memorandum of understanding in October to work together to create a museum in the May Co. building, currently known as LACMA West, in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles that will be run by the Academy.

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Although there is not yet an official price tag or announced fund-raising goal for the project, the Academy is committed to establishing a $50 million endowment that will provide operating funds once the museum is up and running.

The new museum replaces an earlier plan that the Academy had developed which involved building a new structure on land the Academy owns in Hollywood. But that project, which had been pegged at $400 million, was put on hold several years ago when the economic recession hit.

It is expected that adapting an existing building – the former department store contains 300,000 square feet – will cost about half what the earlier project would have entailed.

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“We are saying to the world that we will build a first-class museum and we’re passionate about it,” said Sherak. “This will be a bigger space than what we had originally planned by about 100,000 square feet.”

Heather Cochran, a member of the Academy’s administrative staff who holds the title of museum project administrator, will oversee the next steps as the Academy forms various committees that will be involved in the planning and as it moves to bring on board an architect and space planner.

“The momentum has been building for a long time, and with the enthusiasm Bob, Annette and Tom all bring – and the respect they are accorded throughout the industry – we have marked the beginning of a new chapter for this project,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson added.

The plan is for the new museum to showcase permanent and rotating exhibitions, providing an interactive experience about how motion pictures have evolved and how they continue to change.

“The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures represents a bold new way of saving and presenting film history. It will innovate not only the museum experience, but also the public’s relationship to the art form,” Iger said.