There are loads of nice film museums in Europe. Every museum has a different focus and center of interest. Some are well known but don’t be mistaken, the lesser known museums are as interesting as the famous ones. We’re sharing 5 captivating museums focused on movies and cinema but there are many more, so get ready for more film museum posts in the future!
The Filmmuseum Düsseldorf
The Filmmuseum Düsseldorf sheds light on the world of movies, spanning from its earliest beginnings to present day. It also produces film-related exhibitions.
The exhibition “Fantastic Worlds, Perfect Illusions – Visual Effects in Film” gives a fascinating insight in visual effects in film. It’s an interactive exhibition so visitors can actually experience that aspect of moviemaking. Of course there are also some well known objects and models from movies like Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, the great movie from my youth the NeverEnding Story, Star Trek and Independence Day. The expo is on show until July 31st.
The permanent exhibition of Filmmuseum Düsseldorf (approx. 2,200m²) conveys a lively history of film, and presents a selection of rare vintage film technology. You will find camera obscuras and laterna magicas from the 1880s, film projectors and cameras from the early 20th century to present day, set models, props, costumes and more.
A replica film studio and a special effects section give an insight into actual movie making. Aside from its permanent exhibition the Filmmuseum comprises a vast archive, a library (over 32,000 titles) and a cinema with daily screenings.
Good to know: there are 6 filmmuseums in Germany! The Filmmuseum Düsseldorf was opened in 1993 and is located in the old town.
Filmmuseum Düsseldorf, Schoolstraat 4 ( Altstadt ), Düsseldorf
Museo Nazionale del Cinema
The National Museum of Cinema located in Turin, is an Italian movie museum housed in the absolutely stunning Mole Antonelliana tower. I read on Wikipedia that the museum is believed to be the tallest in the world. I’m not sure about that, but it is beautiful anyhow. The building was originally conceived as a synagogue and it’s a major symbol of the city so you can’t miss it.
The museum has a special layout, developed spiral-wise upwards and structured over several display levels, illustrating the history of cinema by alternating film posters, objects from Italian movies and other memorabilia, film fragments, pre-cinematographic optical devices and set-staging.
The National Museum of Cinema is very committed to the restoration of films which were deemed irretrievably lost. The museum also hosts different film festivals like the prestigious Torino film festival.
There is an exhibition on movies and comics at the moment, on show until May 20. It’s called Gulp! Goal! Action! Movies and comics.
Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Via Montebello 20, Torino
EYE Filmmuseum Amsterdam
I might be a bit biased but the EYE Film Institute Netherlands is a really nice one. To start with: the building is amazing. It was designed by the Viennese firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects and it opened in 2012. EYE is a modern museum where one can see and do all kind of things related to film. In addition to the exhibitions and educational activities, the building houses four cinemas.
The EYE collection dates back to 1946. From 1952, the Dutch Filmmuseum was located in the Vondelpark which was a charming spot in the center of town. When they had to leave that building, EYE was built. Eye unites Holland Film, the Filmbank, the Dutch Institute for Filmeducation and the Filmmuseum all in one organization. EYE does not exclusively acquire and preserve films, but also different materials from movie posters to projection equipment. The focus is on Dutch film culture.
The next expo (March 16 – May 19) will be an exhibition of work by Broomberg & Chanarin, Omer Fast, Chia-Wei Hsu and Meiro Koizumi that shows how artists use not only film and video, but also slide projections, documents, photographs and sound to explore, deconstruct and ‘unmask’ stories about history.
Eye Filmmuseum Amsterdam, IJpromenade 1, Amsterdam
Lyon, in a way, is the birthplace of cinema. Louis and Auguste Lumière, also known as the Lumière brothers, were the first to present projected moving pictures to an audience of more than one person (March 1895) so they were amongst the first filmmakers in the world.
The brothers were born in Besancon in 1862 and 1864 but they moved to Lyon with their parents in 1870 where they grew up and worked (meaning inventing all kind of really cool stuff). The Musée Lumière pays homage to Louis and Auguste Lumière and showcases their finest discoveries in the elegant setting of the family home.
The museum gives centre stage to the Cinematograph, the most famous invention of the two brothers, but there are also various historical technical devices such as Edison’s kinetoscope. One can also see the other inventions of the brothers, they were really quite creative!
Musée Miniature et Cinéma
So while the musée Lumière sheds a historical and technical take on movies, another Lyon museum revolves around another aspect of moviemaking: the Musée Miniature et Cinéma. This is one of the most charming museums in France actually.
There are two parts of the museum, one is focused on miniatures and the other on special effects in movies. The museum was founded by miniaturist Dan Ohlmann. There are about 100 miniature scenes.
The special effects part of the museum offers a collection highlighting the surprising tricks and techniques used in films before the advent of purely digital filmmaking. It has one of the most remarkable collections in Europe. Enjoy a walk between monsters, animals, robots and weird moviesets. There is also a collection of costumes, models and masks. Also very cool, there is ‘cinema clinic’ where they restore and repair film props!
I would advise to visit both film museums in Lyon as they are very different and therefor complement each other.
Musée Lumière, 25 rue du Premier – Film, Lyon
Musée Miniature et Cinéma, Maison des Avocats, 60 rue Saint Jean, Lyon
London Film Museum
Last but not least, if you like James Bond, this is the place for you. Bond in Motion is a permanent exhibition of James Bond vehicles that feature in James Bond.
There are no replicas, these are the original cars that have been used in one of the 24 James Bond movies. Some of the vehicles on display include the archetypal Bond car, Goldfinger’s majestic Rolls-Royce Phantom III and the Lotus Esprit S1 submersible from The Spy Who Loved Me.
Aside from the cars, you will also find storyboards, scripts and model miniatures in the museum.
London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London
Do you ever visit film museums?