It’s getting real for Kerry Brougher.

The new Director of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures technically began his job on July 1, but the Academy’s Board of Governors held a cocktail reception Thursday night to officially welcome Brougher.

“It’s all becoming real all of a sudden,” Brougher said of the museum, set to open in 2017. “We’re making a lot of progress with the building and I’m starting to work on the program for what’s going to go inside the museum and I’ve been hiring some staff. It’s truly coming together.”

Held on the rooftop of the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Brougher explained that the party was put off until now because he has spent the last few weeks traveling between Los Angeles and Washington D.C., where he was serving as  the interim director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. “It’s been a matter of going back and forth to finish things up and get settled here,” he said. “But now I’m here, I’m living within walking distance of the museum.” He then joked, “But I’m trying to be very Californian and still drive to work.”

The $300 million dollar museum will take over the Mid-Wilshire spot from the landmark May Co. building, on the LACMA campus. Asked if he had a favorite piece going into the museum, Brougher shied away from specifying an artifact and instead sang the praises of the photography collection of approximately 10 million photographs. “I’ve gone through some of it and the curators have been going through it,” he noted. “And there are some absolutely gorgeous things, high-quality art taken from great artists of the past and wonderful contemporary artists. I can’t wait for people to see.”