My favorite movie museums

I posted about the state of public perception of museums awhile ago. While finishing up a draft of my next post, I discovered the follow up post I’d never finished on my favorite museum scenes. So, rather than delete it, here for your consideration are three great little moments in movie museum history.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Cameron’s moment with George Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” never fails to slay me.

LA Story

Steve Martin surreptitiously roller skating through LACMA and then providing commentary on abstract art? Priceless.

Bande à part

Who hasn’t wanted to run through the Louvre in noisy leather soled shoes?


  1. Mary Molloy, a museums scholar who teaches in the Harvard Extension program, has been working on museums in movies for a long time and has put together a clip reel consisting of more than two hours’ worth of depictions of museums in movies. It’s pretty fascinating overall – the big takeaway is that very few of them depict museums positively – they’re mostly shown as places of rules and suppressed behavior (even the LA Story clip is fun because it delights in breaking that convention). The Ferris Bueller is one of only a small handful that show people enjoying a museum for its content – another was To Sir with Love, and I can’t recall others now, but there weren’t many. There are quite a few in the “heist” genre that present museums as treasuries with dramatically more advanced technology than they can really afford, which is amusing.

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  2. +1 on Michelle’s mention of “To Sir With Love”–that’s a great one I’d forgotten. “L.A. Story” is great because you also get a bonus Guggenheim mention in the conversation. There’s also the fantastic Hayden Planetarium scene from “Manhattan.” I feel like there are a bunch more I’m not thinking of…


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