Los An­ge­les beats San Fran­cisco for Ge­orge Lu­cas mu­seum site

The Progress-Index - - AMUSEMENTS - An­drew Dalton

LOS AN­GE­LES — The force, it seems, was with Los An­ge­les. And San Fran­cisco was left on the dark side.

“Star Wars” cre­ator Ge­orge Lu­cas and his team were on the side of the City of An­gels over the City by the Bay on Tues­day, choos­ing LA as the home of a mu­seum that will show­case his life’s work along with a huge col­lec­tion of ex­hibits on film his­tory and art.

After what or­ga­niz­ers called “ex­ten­sive due dili­gence and de­lib­er­a­tion,” they an­nounced that the Lu­cas Mu­seum of Nar­ra­tive Art will be built in Ex­po­si­tion Park, where it will sit along­side the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum of Los An­ge­les County and the Cal­i­for­nia Sci­ence Cen­ter, which houses the space shut­tle En­deav­our.

Lu­cas has been try­ing to build the mu­seum for nearly a decade and is fi­nanc­ing the project by him­self with plans to spend over $1 bil­lion.

It had sev­eral pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions, but the choice even­tu­ally came down to per­pet­ual ri­vals in North­ern and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

San Fran­cisco of­fered Treasure Is­land, with its scenic views in the mid­dle of the bay, as a home that the mu­seum would have had vir­tu­ally to it­self.

The mu­seum will house Lu­cas’s per­sonal col­lec­tion, which in­cludes 40,000 paint­ings, il­lus­tra­tions and film-re­lated items in­clud­ing sto­ry­boards and cos­tumes from “The Wizard of Oz,” ‘’Casablanca” and, of course, “Star Wars.”

Los An­ge­les Mayor Eric Garcetti em­pha­sized that it would not be just “a Star Wars mu­seum.”

“This is a col­lec­tion of nar­ra­tive art in a city that has the best sto­ry­tellers and story mak­ers in the world,” he said at a news con­fer­ence.

“I am dis­ap­pointed, of course, but must respect the de­ci­sion,” San Fran­cisco Mayor Ed­win M. Lee said in a state­ment. “I am pleased that the mu­seum will be built in Cal­i­for­nia for our state’s res­i­dents to some­day en­joy.”

LA seemed an ob­vi­ous choice for Lu­cas, not merely be­cause of its film in­dus­try legacy. He is an alum­nus and ma­jor donor to the film school at the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, which is right across the street from the mu­seum site.

How­ever, Lu­cas has strong San Fran­cisco ties as well. He has lived in the Bay Area for most of his life, and the city was home to Lu­cas­film un­til Dis­ney Co. bought it in 2012.

Garcetti said the Ex­po­si­tion Park site will al­low mu­seum-hop­pers to see movie-magic space­craft and then walk over to see the real thing: the space shut­tle.

“You can go from imag­in­ing space, to ac­tu­ally see­ing how it got done,” the mayor said. “You can see how we are in­spired by the nat­u­ral world, and see how we put it on the screen.”

Ex­po­si­tion Park also is home to the LA Me­mo­rial Coli­seum, where the USC Tro­jans and Los An­ge­les Rams play foot­ball, and an un­der-con­struc­tion sta­dium for a new Ma­jor League Soc­cer team, LAFC. A light rail line that opened just last year con­nects the park with down­town Los An­ge­les and the beaches to the West.

The project also comes amid a mu­seum boom in Los An­ge­les that in­cludes The Broad, a buzzing new con­tem­po­rary art mu­seum down­town.

And it makes South­ern Cal­i­for­nia the de­fin­i­tive home base of the Star Wars galaxy, with Dis­ney hav­ing bought the rights to the fran­chise and now build­ing a Star Wars-themed land within its Magic King­dom in Ana­heim.


This un­dated file con­cept de­sign pro­vided by the Lu­cas Mu­seum of Nar­ra­tive Art shows a ren­der­ing of their pro­posed mu­seum in Ex­po­si­tion Park in Los An­ge­les. “Star Wars” cre­ator Ge­orge Lu­cas and his team an­nounced Tues­day they have cho­sen Los An­ge­les over San Fran­cisco as the home of the mu­seum that will show­case his work. After what or­ga­niz­ers called an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion, they an­nounced that the mu­seum will be built in Ex­po­si­tion Park in Los An­ge­les, where it will sit along­side many other more tra­di­tional mu­se­ums.

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