Museum History

Since its opening in 1988, Museum of the Moving Image has been recognized as a major, internationally-reputed institution and the only museum in the United States dedicated to exploring the art, history, and technology of the moving image.

The Museum occupies one of the thirteen buildings that comprised the former Astoria Studio complex. Originally built by Famous Players-Lasky—known as Paramount after 1927—as their East Coast production facility in 1920, the studio was the site of hundreds of silent and early sound era film productions. The studio was taken over in 1942 by the U.S. Army to produce training films for WWII soldiers and renamed the Signal Corps Photographic Center. Following the Army's departure in 1970, the site fell into disrepair. Through the efforts of a consortium of New York City and federal government representatives, union officials and other industry professionals, the Astoria Motion Picture and Television Center Foundation was established in 1977 to restore the Astoria Studio complex to productive use. In 1978, the Foundation successfully returned the studio to feature film production, and obtained listing of the site on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1980, real estate developer George Kaufman was selected to operate the studio facilities. Shortly after, Rochelle Slovin was appointed Executive Director of the Foundation. Under her leadership, the Foundation’s Board of Directors committed to create a museum of film and television at the complex. In 1982, the City of New York set aside one of the original studio buildings for the proposed museum.

In 1985, the Foundation was reincorporated as the American Museum of the Moving Image (now Museum of the Moving Image). The Museum opened to the public in 1988 in a building renovated by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.

The Museum was granted accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 2006. On February 27, 2008, the inauguration of the Museum’s $67 million expansion and renovation was held and construction began. The museum opened its redesigned and expanded building, designed by Leeser Architecture, on January 15, 2011.