New Pixar exhibit at Henry Ford aimed to amaze, educate

Posted at 7:43 AM, Oct 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-14 08:07:28-04

The movies are coming to life inside the Henry Ford Museum.

Walking into the all-new “The Science Behind Pixar” exhibit you feel like a child, and that seems like the strategy: kids will learn, adults will get a sense of whimsy.

Sully, the giant blue monster from Monsters Inc., is on full display as you walk inside. Buzz Lightyear is striking a signature pose. Around the corner you might get a little emotional when you catch a glimpse of Wall-E, but the exhibit is more than just eye-popping life-like screen to real-life replicas.

“The Science Behind Pixar is a behind-the-scenes look at how our movies are made,” explained Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. “The interactive exhibition gives people the opportunity to learn about the jobs our filmmakers do every day and tackle similar problems.”

Those jobs are wide-ranging, and the exhibits allow you to see how the pieces go together while keeping a bit of Hollywood magic upfront at all times.

You learn how clay models are made, how digital scans are used, and the science and math that goes into each step of the process.

Children may enjoy spinning a wheel and watching a scene from the Incredibles slow down or speed up, but they’re learning about how a digital frame is mocked up frame-by-frame to form a moving picture.

You can play with the iconic lamp that you see at the beginning of every Pixar movie, you can even create your own stop-motion picture. It’s fun — but it also teaches you about the industry and the work that goes into making a Pixar film. In fact, almost every step of the Science Behind Pixar seems both fun and educational.

Among the surprising parts of the exhibit you may not think of: the work that went into the movie ‘Tangled,’ to makes sure the characters hair, an integral part of the storyline, moved properly (hint: there’s springs involved); or the challenge of creating lighting that allowed you to understand the flow of water in the hit-movie ‘Finding Nemo.’

“It’s a great demonstration of how much creativity and imagination is involved in the science, technology, engineering art and math thinking essential to our filmmaking process,” said Catmull.

The Science Behind Pixar opens to the public this weekend. It’s presented by Meijer and sponsored by Ford Motor Company.

Tickets for members are $5. Non-member ticket prices include admission to the museum and are $26 for adults (12-61), $20.75 for youth (3-11), $24 for seniors (62+) and children 2 and under are free. To purchase tickets, visit It’s recommended to book a ticket in advance, because time-slots are created for those visiting.