American Museum of Moving Images

Location: 35th Ave. at 36 St., Astoria The American Museum of the Moving Image is dedicated to educating the public about the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media and to examining their impact on culture and society. It achieves these goals by maintaining the nation‘s largest permanent collection of moving image artifacts and by offering exhibitions, film screenings, lectures, seminars, and other education programs. The Museum is located on the site of the largest, busiest, and most significant motion picture and television production facility between London and Hollywood, the Astoria Studio. Built in 1920 across the East River from midtown Manhattan, the studio was Paramount‘s East Coast production facility, and, in the 1930s, a site for independent film production. In 1942 the U.S. Army bought the Astoria Studio and renamed it the Signal Corps Photographic Center. The studio filled a major need for expanded production capability to speed the training of millions of wartime inductees. After the Army left in 1971, the site fell into disrepair. In 1977, the Astoria Motion Picture and Television Center Foundation, Inc. (the Museum‘s predecessor organization) was formed. The not-for-profit organization obtained national historic site status in 1978 and began the process of returning the studio to feature-film production. By January 1981 it had become clear that additional resources would be needed to redevelop the studio site, and the City of New York found a real estate developer to operate a commercial feature-film and television production facility (now known as Kaufman Astoria Studios). In 1982, ownership of the entire studio site was transferred from the U.S. General Services Administration to the City of New York. At the same time, in recognition of the Foundation‘s key role in saving the site, the City set aside one of the thirteen studio buildings for educational and cultural purposes related to the history of motion pictures and television. In 1981, Rochelle Slovin was appointed Executive Director. At her recommendation, the purpose of the organization-which had been to reopen the Astoria Studio for film production-was revised. The creation of a museum about motion pictures and television was established as the organization‘s new directive. Public education was made the central goal, and presenting exhibitions and screenings and maintaining a collection were set forth as its major activities. Astoria Motion Picture and Television Foundation was reincorporated as the American Museum of the Moving Image in 1985. A successful $20 million capital campaign enabled the Museum to renovate one of the original studio buildings and to open to the public in 1988. The Museum‘s Mission Statement was updated to add digital media in May 1993.