What to know about the Academy Museum, from the 'Jaws' shark to its embrace of 'less proud' film history

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Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY
·3 min read
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When you're ready to travel again, a new Oscar-history packed museum will be waiting for film lovers in Los Angeles.

Actress Laura Dern narrated a virtual tour of the Academy Museum Wednesday, unveiling what she called "the world's premiere museum dedicated to the arts and sciences of movies."

Opening to the public Sept. 30, the nearly complete 300,000 square-foot Academy Museum campus features two buildings designed by architect Renzo Piano. Here's what to expect from the Academy Museum, located in the beating heart of the world's filmmaking capital, Los Angeles.

25-foot 'Jaws' shark: Dives into upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Bruce the Shark from "Jaws" will greet guests at the Academy Museum.
Bruce the Shark from "Jaws" will greet guests at the Academy Museum.

Behold the restored 'Jaws' shark in all its glory

The sole surviving full-scale model of Bruce, the mechanical shark used by director Steven Spielberg to make 1975's "Jaws," dominates again as the largest object in the Academy Museum's vast movie collection at 25 feet long and 1,208 pounds. Bruce is ready for his close-up following a seven-month restoration process and hangs from the third floor above escalators, where guests can view it through the window before entering and from many points within the museum.

The museum will highlight 'less-proud moments' of film history

During the tour, Dern made many references to how the Academy Museum will deal with, rather than avoid, "less proud moments in the histories of the Academy and the film industry."

Examples include a gallery in the Hair and Makeup section called Identity which explores "troubling histories" exploring "examples of how hair and makeup have been used to perpetuate racial stereotypes in the movies," said Dern. An animation exhibit will delve into "animation’s most troubling histories, including depictions of harmful racial stereotypes and the objectification of female characters," she said.

Amid the two galleries devoted to the history of the Academy Awards, the museum "will not shy away from problematic histories, including #OscarsSoWhite, the lack of female representation, and ("Gone With the Wind" star) Hattie McDaniel‘s mistreatment at the Oscars ceremony," said Dern.

The Rosebud sled from "Citizen Kane" will be on display at the Academy Museum.
The Rosebud sled from "Citizen Kane" will be on display at the Academy Museum.

The infamous Rosebud sled from 'Citizen Kane' will be featured

The museum’s core, three-story exhibition, called "Stories of Cinema," will explore "the celebratory, complex, diverse, and international stories of the people that make motion pictures and the films they create," said Dern.

This ever-changing exhibition will start with visitors seeing floor-to-ceiling projections teasing the films to be highlighted, which include "Citizen Kane." Spoiler alert, the actual Rosebud sled, pivotal to Orson Welles' classic 1941 film, will be on display.

Other kickoff exhibits will initially examine the 2002 independent film "Real Women Have Curves," martial arts champion Bruce Lee, and pioneering Black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux.

Costumes range from The Dude's robe to Okoye's warrior outfit

The many costumes on display include the robe Jeff Bridges' "The Dude" wore in the "The Big Lebowski." In the Encounters gallery, visitors can see famed sci-fi, fantasy and horror artistry with classic set pieces and costumes, including the warrior costume worn by Okoye (Danai Gurira) in "Black Panther." "The colors radiate onscreen, but in person, the elaborate detail will take your breath away," said Gurira during the tour.

The domed terrace is open to the public and offers stunning views of the Hollywood hills.
The domed terrace is open to the public and offers stunning views of the Hollywood hills.

A Barbra Streisand bridge leads to theaters, domed terrace

Across the glass Barbra Streisand Bridge from the main museum sits the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater and the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater (which is large enough to feature an orchestra pit and capable of showing any movie format, including antiquated nitrate film stock.) Film titles will be selected by each of the Academy's 17 branches, and will tie into current exhibits.

The area also includes the domed Dolby Family Terrace, which is free to the public and will show stunning views of Los Angeles.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Academy Museum: What to expect when the destination opens in September