A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (a.k.a. Chicago), "Star Wars" creator George Lucas envisioned building a grand museum dedicated to storytelling, as well as housing his vast personal collection of "Star Wars" artifacts and other pop culture memorabilia. After a few roadblocks and a location change, Lucas finally broke ground on the ambitious project this week in Los Angeles.
Lucas was on hand Wednesday for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which is located in L.A.'s Exposition Park, near the University of Southern California campus (where Lucas attended film school). The 300,000 square foot museum will feature five floors with a mixture of gallery space, a cafe and restaurant, theaters, lecture halls, classrooms, and a library that will be open to the public.
That last point is a vital component of the museum, Lucas told media gathered at the groundbreaking, explaining that he planned on showcasing contemporary works by up-and-coming artists and filmmakers alongside those by famous names like Degas, Renoir, Norman Rockwell, Maurice Sendak, and classic films like "Citizen Kane," "Casablanca," "The Wizard of Oz," and "The Ten Commandments." The museum will also regularly feature workshops and lectures that will welcome everyone, and encourage those who are interested in becoming storytellers themselves.
Of course, there will be plenty of "Star Wars" memorabilia showcased, too, including Luke Skywalker's first lightsaber and Darth Vader's helmet. Lucas's longtime pal and collaborator, Steven Spielberg, will also have items from some of his films represented, including the "Indiana Jones" series. (Spielberg, who was also present at the groundbreaking ceremony, recently joined the museum's board.)
"Yes, this is an art museum, but I'm trying to position it also as an anthropological museum," Lucas said. "Popular art is an insight into a society and what they aspire to, what they really want, what they really are. Because it's telling the narrative of their story, their history, their belief system. ... We have to share a history, we have to share heroes."
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is slated to open sometime in 2021.