Hollywood Museum is gearing up for a blockbuster summer tourism season and for good reason, too. LA Inc. reports a new record number of visitors and spending in the history ofLos Angeles occurred last year. About 26.9 million people visited LA in 2011, a jump of 4.2 percent more overnight visitors than in 2010. Tourist spending also rose with visitors racking up $15.2 billion in expenditures – an eight percent hike from the previous year.
“It looks like the economy is getting a little better,” Donelle Dadigan, founder & president, Hollywood Museum told this writer at the annual Winter Mixer of Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS). Dadigan said the museum has 10,000 real showbiz treasures, located in the historical Max Factor building near the Kodak Thater and Hollywood Walk of Fame
(Highland Ave. & Hollywood Blvd.).
Max Factor, wizard of movie make-up,
has worked his magic on motion picture stars since 1935. On the ground floor, you’ll find many original displays from the old Max Factor Make-Up Studio.
The lobby, has been restored to its original grandeur. A polished Art Deco gem – a white and rose-colored oasis of lavish marble, recreated historic chandeliers, pastel hues, antique furniture, trompe l’oeil, faux finishes with 22kt. gold and silver leafing.
The Hollywood Museum features four floors of exhibits
(two floors above the lobby and a basement below), offering more than 35,000 square feet of exhibit space. To give you an idea of the size, it is seven times the size of the nearby Guinness World of Record Museum (5,200 square feet). It is nearly four times the size of the neighboring Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum (10,000 square feet), and five times larger than the Warner Bros Museum
(at 7,000 square feet).
“We still really don’t have enough room to do justice to the thousands of items on exhibit here,” explain Dadigan.
The ground floor is made up of the historic Lobby, plus Max Factor’s restored make-up rooms, a vintage B&W photo gallery featuring more than 1000 B&W photos, Cary Grant’s Rolls Royce, Planet of the Apes, Jurassic Park, a tribute to Judy Garland and the “Red Shoes”.
The second and third floors are devoted exclusively to costumes worn by famous stars in famous films, corresponding props, photos, memorabilia and posters. Also featured is a wealth of Hollywood memorabilia, ranging from the earliest Technicolor film ever shot, to a Roman bed from “Gladiator”, to the dog from “There’s something about Mary”, to the gold Cadillac from “Dreamgirls”.
When you go down stairs to the open lower level Marilyn Monroe’s 1961 Cadilla Fleetwood greets you in mint condition. Be sure to visit the lower level, which was once a bowling alley and speakeasy during Prohibition days. Now it is where the Museum houses “all things creepy and scary”
You get to walk down the same jail cell corridor that Jodie Foster walked in “Silence of the Lambs”, and see Hannibal’s cell and a fantastic array of props from the film including Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s mask. Wear tennis shoes, because there are floors and floors of posters, black and white photos and memorabilia from Hollywood. If you park at the Kodak complex, the first two hours of park is free with validation.
LA Inc’s Mark Lieberman said, This year’s impressive growth in tourism is great news for our local businesses that rely on tourist spending to make their companies both successful and profitable.” According to those people keeping track one out of every 10 jobs are related to tourism, which employs 364,000 people. And that’s why we should see a huge economic impact on tourism this summer, too.