Warner Bros. has donated $5 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, enabling the museum to update its Carmichael auditorium into a modern theater that can screen 3-D titles.
The 46-year-old auditorium will be renamed the Warner Bros. Theater when it opens next year. It will also have the capability to screen films in their original 35-mm format and will be used for lectures, symposia, concerts and other events as well.
“American film deserves a special home at our museum and the Warner Bros. partnership expands our capacity to tell this unique story and allow museum visitors to explore the legacy of American cinema,”
said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum.
As part of the gift, the museum plans to establish a reserve fund for maintenance and upgrades to the theater. It noted that the update of its theater will complements its existing collections, which include an 1890s motion-picture rotary lens; props from 1920s silent films; drawings from the first Mickey
Mouse animated film, “Steamboat Willie”; one of the Technicolor motion-picture cameras used in 1939 to film “The Wizard of Oz” and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in that movie.
“Warner Bros. has a rich legacy of entertaining audiences for almost 90 years and truly realizes the importance and value of that history,” said Warner topper Barry M. Meyer. “This partnership with the Smithsonian, whose very name is the gold standard for the preservation and presentation of all things with historical significance, is a great step reminding people that movies and television shows are an important part of our shared culture.”