On September 10, 1988, Museum of the Moving Image opened its doors to the public. At the time, years before the promise of the Internet and digital media were captured in the now-quaint phrase “Information Superhighway,” the idea of a museum, built on an historic site for movie production, that would take a unified view of the disparate worlds of film, television, and video games, seemed as audacious as it was unprecedented. There was, simply, no museum like it in the world. It was an innovative blend of a science museum, an art museum, a technology museum, and a history museum, with a unique mix of artifacts, commissioned artworks, interactive experiences (at the time employing such now-arcane technology as laserdisc players, slide projectors, and electronic synthesizers), and video clips.
From its earliest days, the Museum has been committed to being at once forward-looking, reflecting a subject matter that is defined by innovation, and to being rooted in history, always remembering that the latest advances are part of a continuum. Today’s YouTube videos of adorable cats were preceded by short films of boxing cats shown in the 1890s on Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscopes. Today’s big-screen blockbusters have their roots in Edwin S. Porter’s still-thrilling 1903 film The Great Train Robbery.
Read more from Carl Goodman, the Museum’s Executive Director, on the occasion of our 25th Anniversary.