The Hollywood Museum, considered the official museum of Hollywood, is located inside the famous Max Factor Building at 1660 North Highland Avenue. The museum's location is the site where make-up wizard Mac Factor began "doing up" Hollywood movie stars in 1935. Once unused, the Max Factor Building was purchased by real estate developer Donelle Dadigan from the Proctor & Gamble company in 1995 and slowly converted into the Hollywood Museum. It reportedly cost Dadigan more than $7 million to restore, repair, and stock the museum and renew it in order to help it become the home of Hollywood's movie history. Besides Dadigan, some of Hollywood's biggest and best-known names have contributed to the establishment, growth, and maintenance of the museum, including director Francis Ford Coppola, Johnny Grant, the honorary mayor of Hollywood, actress Shirley MacLaine, television personality Leonard Maltin, and producer Dino de Laurentis.
Being located in the heart of Hollywood certainly has its privileges, as the museum has collected enough "artifacts" to boast arguably the largest and most significant collection of Hollywood movie memorabilia in the world. Few places are home to more important pieces than the Hollywood Museum. With four floors and more than 35,000 square feet of space, along with an additional floor dedicated to special events, the Hollywood Museum is home to more than ten thousand pieces of movie memorabilia.
Of the museum's many possessions, some its most prized and popular include the boxing gloves from the original Sylvester Stallone movie Rocky, Marilyn Monroe's million dollar honeymoon dress, Elvis Presley's favorite bathrobe, the whip from the Indian Jones movies, and the swing from the movie Moulin Rouge. Among the many items in the museum's collection are costumes from classics like Gone With The Wind and I Love Lucy, as well as items personally owned by Tom Cruise, Marilyn Monroe, Will Smith, Charlie Chaplin, and Bob Hope.
On the museum's ground floor, which includes the magnificently remodeled lobby and Max Factor make-up rooms, is a collection of thousands of vintage black and white photographs related to Hollywood's history - the largest of its kind anywhere. The ground floor is also the location of Cary Grant's personal Rolls Royce, as well as several major pieces of memorabilia from Jurassic Park and The Wizard of Oz.
Costumes, props, and photos make up the contents of the second floor, which also includes a bed from the movie Gladiator and the gold Cadillac from the movie Dreamgirls. The museum's basement is a fan favorite. Once a speakeasy during the days of Prohibition, the basement is now the home of Hannibal Lecter's prison cell and his mask. Recently, the museum's basement has been used as the focal point of a Halloween attraction known as the Chamber of Horrors, which showcases memorabilia from ten of the most popular (and scary) movies of all time.
In terms of size, the Hollywood Museum is measurably larger than several surrounding museums. In terms of square footage, the Hollywood Museum is more than twice as large as both the Guinness World Record Museum and the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum combined.
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