Former May Co. department store may become LA movie museum

The former May Company department store on Wilshire Boulevard may become L.A.'s newest museum. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the organization behind the Oscars have announced that the 72-year-old building will house a shrine to the movies.

The distinctive gold-leaf facade has turned up in quite a few movies — the disaster flick “Volcano,” the post-World War II drama “The Best Years of Our Lives” and the 1952 Bette Davis vehicle “The Star.” In that one, the title character is an aging Oscar-winning actress in such diminished circumstances that she worked at the May Company.

After that department store left its Miracle Mile location, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art moved some operations into the 300,000-square-foot building. LACMA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have agreed to give the site a new starring role as a repository for film history archives, a library, screening space and an interactive experience for visitors.

The Academy plans a fundraising campaign for the transformation. In a statement, its officials called their new lease agreement with LACMA the culmination of a decades-long quest to give this motion picture capital the movie museum it deserves.

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