The inspiration of and appreciation for Walt Disney knows no boundaries. The Membership at The Walt Disney Family Museum certainly reflects this diversity. Each month, we’ll introduce you to one of our Members, so you can see the varied and frequently fascinating people, who have come together to learn and experience more about the life, work, philosophies, and ideals of Walt Disney. This month, we’d like you to meet Steve Smart and Javier Barreto.
Steve Smart and Javier Barreto have availed themselves of the Museum’s unique “Dual Membership,” where two individuals can share a membership and its benefits.
Javier was born in Venezuela, where he spent his early childhood. Then, around age 6, he came to San Francisco with his mother while she was conducting graduate studies. Upon completion of her studies, he and his mother returned to Venezuela, where Javier finished his K-12 schooling. After graduating, he spent a year in Denmark as an exchange student before returning to Venezuela to start college. Eventually he got the opportunity to return to San Francisco, where he completed his college education and got into the field of broadcast television and video production (defying a long-standing tradition of mostly doctors and lawyers in the family), focusing on Spanish language electronic media, where he has now been working for more than 11 years.
Steve was born in San Diego, and lived there through sixth grade before moving to Denver. After completing college there, he moved to San Francisco in 2005 where he has been working in IT ever since.
Recently, our WDFM Membership Coordinator Pam Spedus sat down and had a brief conversation with Steve and Javier about Walt, the Museum, and Membership.
PAM: Why did you become a member of The Walt Disney Family Museum?
Javier: I’m a big fan of animation (including Disney animation, of course), and greatly admire the strength, perseverance, and vision that Walt Disney had during his life—and the enduring legacy he left behind and influence in the world of animation. My partner and I both followed with interest the development of The Walt Disney Family Museum, and when it finally opened its doors, our membership was a given.
Steve: Not being close to the parks in Southern California anymore, it was really great to see that we’d be having a little bit of Disney right in the City, and we definitely wanted to be Members from the start!
What do you find most enjoyable about your Membership?
Javier: Besides being able to go to the Museum as many times as you want? You can also watch all the monthly films, and get first dibs on tickets to lectures from special guests.
Steve: It really is great to be able to take in the Museum over multiple visits. There’s just so much packed into the galleries, it must have taken us five or six visits to just get a look at everything.
What do you enjoy most about the Museum?
Javier: I like the sense of history it provides, and how it allows the viewer to glean some real insight into the life and work of Walt Disney; into how he came to be who he was. I also really enjoy the special guests and lecturers the Museum brings in. It’s amazing to get the opportunity to meet and hear from some of the great legends in the industry; you know, the people who made some of our most beloved films.
Steve: The experiences at the presentations have been amazing, from sitting just a few feet away to Richard Sherman playing those great songs, to seeing today’s great animators like Andreas Deja talk so passionately about how Disney’s films inspired them.
How does Walt Disney inspire you?
Javier: His incredible vision, passion, drive and sense of perseverance even in the face of failure or adversity I think are great inspirations to all of us; even to people who’ve never seen a single Disney animated film.
Steve: I think he set an example for everyone that you really can accomplish anything with enough creativity and perseverance.
What is your first Disney memory?
Javier: It’s hard to say what my very first Disney memory was, but among the first, I’d have to count The Jungle Book and Mary Poppins. To this day, some of the songs featured in Mary Poppins remain some of my favorite tunes.
Steve: It’s hard to remember exactly what came first; I definitely grew up with all the animated features on VHS, and got to make several trips to Disneyland when I was growing up in San Diego.
Membership in The Walt Disney Family Museum has many benefits, including admission, complimentary film tickets, a quarterly newsletter, and a membership card that grants a 10% discount in the Museum Store—as well as discounts on selected educational and public programs. In addition, several times a year, special events for Members only are held within the Museum itself. You can purchase immediate membership at the Reception and Member Services Desk at the Museum during regular operating hours (Wednesday through Monday, 10:00AM to 6:00PM), or online at www.waltdisney.org.