Pioneering Animation

Grades 3–6
Wed, Thu, & Fri | 10am–noon & 1–3pm
$10 student, $12 adult
Learning Center

Thanks to our partnership with The Society of California Pioneers, located just steps away from the museum, students begin this program at The Society’s research library engaging with primary source materials, creating a narrative, and collecting images. The second half of their hands-on experience takes place in museum’s Learning Center. In small groups, they combine animation and history, as Walt Disney did in his own films, to create animated shorts.

Golden Gate Park in The Gilded Age
on view October 24, 2019 to April 28, 2020

In 1867, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors drafted Order 800, an outline for the purchase and development of the westernmost expanse of land dismissed as “the outside lands” on early maps. Their plan included a grand public park similar to those in New York, London, and Paris. Landscape architect and engineer William Hammond Hall was hired to create Golden Gate Park from 1,017 of these acres of unpromising sandy soil and windswept dunes.

Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach subsequently played a significant role in the lives of San Franciscans during the Gilded Age and beyond. This exhibition of rarely-seen examples, gleaned from family albums and nineteenth-century studio catalogues, is our contribution to the celebration of Golden Gate Park’s sesquicentennial. 

Registration for the 2019–2020 academic year is now open. Please email if you have any questions.

Other Programs

  • Benefitting from embedded digital media content, this walk-through the museum brings Walt’s inspirational message to life. Classes learn about his early failures, the art of animation, storytelling principles, and the technological innovations that made classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) possible.
    8–9am PST on Wednesdays
    1:30–2:30pm PST on Thursdays & Fridays
  • Students take a tour of our newest special exhibition, Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World, with gallery activities and group discussions centered around one-of-a-kind Mickey artworks and objects. In the Learning Center, students bring to life their own animated characters using a Crankie box —illustrated stories literally cranked around two scrolls with a viewing screen. Students are welcome to self-guide through the main museum galleries before or after the workshop finishes.
    Mon, Wed, Thu, & Fri | 10am–noon and 1–3pm
    Limited time only: September 4, 2019 to January 6, 2020
  • Field Trips
    In partnership with HI USA , It's a Shared World explores Walt Disney's lifelong commitment to environmental education, international travel and...
    Mon, Wed, Thu & Fri | 10am–1pm
  • In the galleries, students reflect on the work of Imagineers, who worked under Walt at WED Enterprises during the 1950s and 60s to imagine, research,...
    Mon, Wed, Thu, & Fri | 10am–noon and 1–3pm
  • Students learn about Walt Disney and his team of Imagineers to see how their creativity and dreams led to the construction of Disneyland. During the...
    Mon, Wed, Thu & Fri | 10–11:30am & 1–2:30pm
  • Field Trips
    On this tour, our littlest students learn all about the importance of color in animation. In the galleries, they explore how color is used as a form of storytelling to set the mood of animated movies. In the Learning Center, they create their own color scripts to gain a better understanding of how the right colors can enhance a story.
    Mon, Wed, Thu, & Fri | 10–11:30am
  • In the galleries, students step into Walt’s shoes, using their imaginations as they discover exciting moments in Walt’s life and the history of animation. In the Learning Center, students star in their own short animated movie using an engaging stop-motion technique called “pixilation” to gain a hands-on understanding of the animation process.
    Mon, Wed, Thu & Fri | 10am–noon
  • In the galleries, students discover the importance of storytelling in animation by engaging in interactive activities focused on the concepts of character, setting, and plot. In the Learning Center, they will illustrate and animate a story using a zoetrope, a device that produces the illusion of motion in a sequence of drawings.
    Mon, Wed, Thu & Fri | 10am–noon
  • In the galleries, students discover the importance of storytelling structure in animation by taking part in interactive activities focused on the concepts of character, setting, and plot, as they apply to film. In the Learning Center, they work collaboratively to write a story within eight frames and pitch their completed storyboards to the class.
    Mon, Wed, Thu, & Fri | 10am–noon
  • In the galleries, students discover how Walt encouraged his staff to experiment with special effects technology to make animation more compelling and realistic, and how the resulting advancements inspired the industry as a whole. In the Learning Center, students experiment with a mini Multiplane Camera, explore how depth is created in animation, and create their own silent stop-motion shorts.
    Mon, Wed, Thu, & Fri | 10am–noon