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Million-Dollar Dresses and Hollywood Glamour

The Largest Collection of Hollywood Memorabilia

Want to see Rocky’s boxing gloves, Marilyn Monroe’s gowns, Elvis’ personal bathrobe, and other authentic show business treasures? There’s no better place than The Hollywood Museum, home to the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world.

“The Hollywood Museum is about the education and preservation of Hollywood history,” says Donelle Dadigan, the founder and president of the museum. Celebrities like George Clooney, Beyoncé, and Leonardo DiCaprio have been featured, as well as famous movie sets, props, posters, and costumes. “We showcase from the beginning of motion pictures all the way through today.”

One of the biggest draws, of course, is seeing how gorgeous starlets like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor got their signature looks. For that, there’s no better place to go than the Max Factor makeup rooms. Considered Hollywood’s Makeup King, he was the one who created the signature looks of the Golden Era, giving Lucille Ball her red hair and turning Monroe from a brunette to a blonde. “Max Factor took average people like you and me and turned them into silver screen gods and goddesses,” says Dadigan.

Also on display is Monroe’s multimillion-dollar honeymoon dress from when she married Joe DiMaggio, which she also wore to perform for the troops in Korea in 1951. “It’s probably the most photographed dress in the museum,” says Dadigan. Video clips and photographs of Monroe performing next to her memorabilia are on display, too, so people can better recognize them.

Speaking of pictures, another must-see for movie buffs is “The History of Hollywood in Pictures Exhibit.” Featuring more than 1,000 vintage black-and-white photos, it spans 100 years of history, from the Silent Era to the Golden Era to today. It includes headshots of stars, plus a look at their lives and careers with photos of movie premiers, personal family scenes, favorite nightclubs, and more.

Showcasing over 100 years of Hollywood history means that there’s plenty of memorabilia to behold. “You can see the most beautiful costumes. They’re all originals; no replicas.” This is particularly impressive, as a common practice in Hollywood was to alter and reuse old costumes and props as much as possible to save on costs. The preservation of such things is actually a recent practice. Dadigan explains, “You see them in the original condition; if it looks brand-spanking new, there’s a problem. You should always expect some wear and tear.”

With four floors to house exhibits, there’s plenty to explore. Fright fans will particularly enjoy the “The Dungeon of Doom” exhibit, which features memorabilia like Hannibal Lecter’s jail cell, Boris Karloff’s mummy, and other cult horror classics. Dadigan says, “That’s a floor where I personally need to have someone go with me. People really enjoy it because it’s the real deal.”

Displaying cars, costumes, and set pieces, The Hollywood Museum really is an amazing tribute to show business and the icons of the silver screen. Anyone interested in Hollywood’s past and present should check it out.

-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, ALLISON BENNETT

-Photos by Bill Dow and Courtesy of The Hollywood Museum

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