Astoria, Museums and Galleries, Television
Mar 10, 2015

Preview Of the New Mad Men Exhibit at MOMI

We were fortunate to be invited to a press preview of Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men, a new exhibit opening up at MOMI this Saturday, March 14. If you love the (…)

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We were fortunate to be invited to a press preview of Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men, a new exhibit opening up at MOMI this Saturday, March 14. If you love the TV show, Mad Men—and even if you haven’t followed it much (like me)—this exhibit is a real treat. On display are showrunner Matthew Weiner’s notes, portions of scripts, recreated sets, costumes, props, and more. It’s wonderful!

Here are some photos of the exhibit, which only do it justice to an extent. In particular, the textures of the costumes are beautiful and it’s much more satisfying to see them up close and personal than in a photograph. The recreated sets are also gorgeous, and the period details really bring the scenes to life. There are a number of media elements—scenes from the TV show, audio clips, and some featurettes from people involved.

And now for the photos. Here are some of Matthew Weiner’s notes during his time as showrunner for Mad Men.

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Scripts and more scripts.

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Reference books that provided inspiration and context for Mad Men. Some included Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, the short stories of John Cheever, and The Glory and the Dream by William Manchester (social history about mid-century America).

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A recreation of the writers room, where the show’s writers worked.

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Costumes and some collages by Janie Bryant, put together to better understand the characters, and catch their essence.

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This is a recreation of the set of Don and Betty’s kitchen in their house in Ossining (seasons 1-4).

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Don’s office from seasons 4-6.

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Cookbooks used for reference in the episode, The Runaways, (season 7, episode 5).

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You can listen to some audio clips and understand from Weiner the reasons behind his choosing these tracks.

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More costumes, toward the end of the exhibit.

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Fascinating objects from the show’s era.

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We also got to hear from exhibition curator Barbara Miller, exhibition designer Wendell Walker, chief curator David Schwartz, and Executive Director Carl Goodman. All are very excited about this exhibit, and grateful to all the folks and entities that shared resources so generously, including AMC and Lionsgate, as well as the Teamsters who helped truck everything here from LA, and Kaufman Astoria Studios who generously lended MOMI storage space for everything. The museum staff got major kudos from the big boss, too.

It was nice to hear that putting together this exhibit and learning so much about the behind-the-scenes elements hasn’t ruined the show for anyone involved. In fact they value having gotten to know the show’s creative process better, and it just deepens the pleasure they experience with the show. There’s a lot to the exhibit, too, which lends itself to repeated viewings. I know I’d like to return, and also spend some time watching the show (I’ve only seen a couple of episodes).

The exhibit goes from March 14 to June 14, and is located in the Changing Exhibitions Gallery on the third floor. Highly recommended.

Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria, NY 11106, (718) 777-6888, movingimage.us

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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