L.A. may have Hollywood, but New York has the Museum of the Moving Image, the only institution in the country dedicated exclusively to the history of film. Not the movie stars and memorabilia, though the museum does that, too, but actual film. MOMI just dedicated a new expansion that nearly doubles its size to 97,700 square feet, creating more room for its expansive archives as well as three new theaters in which to view all those films, videos, slides and broadcasts.
“From the days of Edison to the Internet, no force has done more than the moving image to transform the world, socially, culturally and economically,” Moving Image Chairman Herbert S. Schlosser said in a release. “The one place where people can get an entertaining yet informed experience of this phenomenon as a whole is at our Museum. Now we have facilities that are as multifaceted and exciting as the stories that we tell.”
The museum rolled out the red carpet for the city’s political A-list at the dedication–though MOMI is run by a non-profit, the building is owned by the city, and $55 million of the $67 million expansion budget came from public sources, chiefly the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Among those pausing for the paparazzi were Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Congressman Joseph Crowley, Queens Councilman and Cultural Affairs Committee chair Jimmy Van Bramer, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Cultural Affairs commissioner Kate D. Levin, Thomas Leeser, the architect of the expansion, and, of course, Hizzoner.
“The museum’s state-of-the-art expansion in Astoria will allow it to provide new exhibition and screening space and the capacity to double the number of students that its education center serves,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “It is an example of the kind of substantial investments we continue to make in New York City’s cultural institutions, which benefit New Yorkers and, last year, helped us attract a record number of visitors.”
The museum reopens to the public this Saturday.