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Oscar Tour LA Photo Gallery: Disney Animation Research Library (ARL)

One of the highlights of the week was a morning spent at Disney's Animation Research Library (ARL). Housed in the non-descript former feature animation studio, the library houses more than 65 million pieces of animation art representing over 80 years of work from Walt Disney Animation. If you love animation, or have any sense of animation history, then the Disney ARL is a little slice of heaven. Actually, it's the whole pie.

Among the items set out for our visit, books of Jungle Book sketches caught everyone's attention.

Written by Dan Sarto

One of the highlights of the week was a morning spent at Disney's Animation Research Library (ARL).  Housed in the non-descript former feature animation studio, the library houses more than 65 million pieces of animation art representing over 80 years of work from Walt Disney Animation.  Formerly housed in the basement of the Animation department in the aptly named "Morgue," the library opened in its current location in 1989.  Complete with fire supression systems, climate controled vaults and state of the art scanning and database systems, the library serves both to preserve the company's heritage as well as to provide an inhouse resource for studio personnel needing access to the immense repository of Disney animation assets. If you love animation, or have any sense of animation history, then the Disney ARL is a little slice of heaven.  Actually, it's the whole pie.

The incredible selection of art set out for us included original Steamboat Willie drawings.

As the picture shows, the vaults contain row after row of storage boxes, all categorized and labeled for easy physical retrieval. I found listening to head researcher Fox Carney just as interesting as looking at the artwork.

Fox shows the group a background layout.

Fox shares with us an original drawing from Snow White.

This section of the archive houses background art.

Fox stands in front of boxes, stacked on top of boxes, resting next to boxes...you get the idea. Various vendors provide Disney with various custom-produced archival storage materials, including boxes, mounts and sleeves.

Fox pulls a glass panel used in one of Disney's revolutionary multi-plane cameras. Few of the panels still exist - this vault contains countless drawers housing Disney's collection.

A selection of framed Mary Blair artwork adorns a vault wall. The collection sits underneath a retractable sheath that protects the art from light.

The library fabricates materials used to plan installations and other external housing and display of the art. This group also works in conjunction with Imagineering.

Geefwee Boedoe examines various maquettes housed in long rows of cabinets within one of the climate controlled vaults.

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