It’s been an exciting summer for the Walt Disney Birthplace restoration project, with a number of significant visits and events putting the eyes of Chicagoans and Disney fans across the country on this important project. You may not have known (and if you didn’t, read our story all about it!) that one of the 20th century’s most influential Americans, Walt Disney, was born in Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood. Thanks to the passion and dedication of project founders Dina Benadon and Brent Young, the home where Walt was born and spent some of his most significant formative years is now being restored and transformed into a museum that’s set to become a major Disney destination for fans and history buffs alike. Now, the museum is giving you a chance to put your name on this incredible project.
On Aug. 23, as part of the D23 Expo, “the ultimate Disney fan event” held in Anaheim, California, project co-founder Brent Young took to the Walt Disney Archives stage to participate a panel, “Making Walls Talk: Disney Historical Sites and Museums In Conversation,” alongside representatives from other Disney museums and historical sites The Walt Disney Family Museum, The Walt Disney Hometown Museum, and The Carolwood Society and had the opportunity to shine a light on the fact that Chicago is truly the place where it all began.
D23, the official Disney Fan Club, has shown great enthusiasm and support for the project, organizing periodic visits to give members a firsthand look at the spectacular progress being made, including a special trip earlier this summer.
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D23 Members returned to Chicago today for a very special behind-the-scenes trip with our friends at @waltdisneybirthplace ✨ Guests visited Walt’s birthplace, along with the church where he was baptized, and the school Roy O. Disney attended. As a special gift, guests received a print made by Disney artist Alex Maher to commemorate this unforgettable experience.
To celebrate the D23 Expo appearance and D23’s recent visit, a new “Friends of the Birthplace” Indiegogo campaign was launched on Aug. 23 to give more people the opportunity to connect with the project in a very meaningful way.
By making a $200 pledge, you can add your name or the name of someone special to the inside of the Birthplace where it will be displayed on a prominent “Friends of the Birthplace” donor plaque. This is a unique chance to for Disney fans to attach themselves to this important part of Walt Disney’s legacy (and would make an awesome holiday gift for the Disneyphile in your life—hint, hint). The campaign only runs for 23 days, so don’t miss your chance to donate between now and Sept. 14.
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Editor in Chief of Better, Brooke Geiger McDonald is a Chicago native who has worked for O, The Oprah Magazine and Shape magazine in New York and for various book publishers in London. Back home in Chicago, she’s outnumbered by her husband and two sons, and the four of them are certifiable Disney and Star Wars fanatics, always counting down the days to their next Disney vacation. Her favorite nonprofits to support include The Walt Disney Birthplace in Chicago and organizations focused on environmental conservation and combatting climate change, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Shedd Aquarium. Follow her on Instagram: @brookegmcdonald