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Rare tour of motion picture academy's archive

September 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
When you think of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, you probably think of the glamour of the red carpet at the Oscars.

But when the Oscars are over, AMPAS is hard at work preserving film history.

For the last 10 years, much of that work has been done at the Pickford Center in Hollywood, named after Mary Pickford, the only female founding member of the academy.

The walls at the center are lined with unforgettable movie snapshots, but perhaps the most impressive aspect is the collection of more than 70,000 film titles. They have all the film canisters for all those movies. Lay all of it out, and it's 191 million feet of film, which is enough to go around the Earth 1 1/2 times. This storage room is kept at 50 degrees and 30 percent humidity year round.

Workers go scan the films frame by frame to restore decaying classics. They also keep old home movies, experiment with film technology, house more than 70,000 movie posters and store a massive collection of Hollywood-related artifacts.

The academy hopes to open an academy museum near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art by the end of 2015.

"We, along with (Disney CEO) Bob Iger, (actress) Annette Benning and (actor) Tom Hanks, are trying to reach a goal of $100 million by October 16," said Bill Kramer, the managing director of development at AMPAS. "If we achieve that goal, the academy will green light the project."


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