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Guest post by Phil Boot, Documentation Officer for the Ray Harryhausen Collection.
I’m Phil Boot and I have the pleasure of being the Documentation Officer for the Ray Harryhausen Collection, which means documenting, archiving and looking after Ray’s material on behalf on both the Museum and The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation. My job gives me complete access to Ray Harryhausen’s personal collection of film material from the movies he worked on such as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, and the objects that he’s collected over time.
Working closely with Ray, I slowly unravel the stories behind the key objects so that the documentation of the collection is accurately recorded on the database. I also have the honour to meet and talk with a number of individuals that have either worked with or have had some history with Ray, such as animators, filmmakers, actors and collectors, thus helping to ensure that their stories and knowledge are recorded for future reference.
I’m working my way through a multitude of objects including the original models from almost all of Ray’s films, all his original artworks, sketches and doodles, posters, test models, camera equipment, and much more. In fact, it is estimated that when the documentation process is finished, there will be around 75,000 objects in total!
Since my job is solely dedicated to all things Harryhausen, I am fortunate to be permanently surrounded by ‘Ray’. I have in my office a bronze skeleton from Jason and the Argonauts, fantastic posters from the films Clash of the Titans and Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan, and a fantastic sketch of Ray drawn by the animation artists at Disney, all serving as a constant reminder of why this project is so important.
My job as Documentation Officer is really one of the first steps to ensure that Ray’s work and legacy is secure, and accessible, for future generations of animation, film and art fans. Being part of a team that is upholding Ray’s legacy is a huge responsibility, but also a privilege.
Some highlights in the collection include the original Medusa model from the 1981 Clash of the Titans, an original 1935 poster from the movie She, storyboards from Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, home movies, and an original animation cell from Disney’s The Jungle Book.
A small collection of Ray Harryhausen’s dinosaurs is now on display outside our Collections and Research centre.