Education

Disney’s ‘The Lion Guard’ gives Miami Children’s Museum reason to roar

A scene from Disney Junior’s “The Lion Guard.” The Miami Children’s Museum is creating an exhibit based on the popular show in partnership with Disney and opening it in January 2018.
A scene from Disney Junior’s “The Lion Guard.” The Miami Children’s Museum is creating an exhibit based on the popular show in partnership with Disney and opening it in January 2018. Disney Junior

Miami Children’s Museum is counting on the magic of Disney to help market itself nationally as a museum for original programming.

The 34-year-old museum is curating an exhibit based on Disney Junior’s popular series, “The Lion Guard.” The educational exhibit, which will tap social, physical, problem-solving and self-development issues, opens in late January for a six-month stay before hitting the road to other children’s museums across the country through 2022. This is the Miami museum’s first partnership with Disney-ABC Television Group.

“The Lion Guard” follows the museum’s 2010 pairing with Warner Bros. for “The Wizard of Oz Children’s Educational Exhibition,” which, after its tour, returned to Miami Children’s Museum.

The Miami museum’s creation of an exhibit is akin to a Broadway show that embarks on a road tour. At every stop, a playbill names the originating theater. Miami Children’s Museum gained exposure from the “Oz” exhibit and hopes to do the same with “The Lion Guard,” which continues the storytelling of the popular 1994 movie, “The Lion King,” and its long-running Broadway musical. The main character is Kion, the second-born cub of the original story’s Simba and Nala, and a diverse group of friends who unite to protect the Pride Lands.

Other museums also will pay Miami Children’s a rental fee to stage “The Lion Guard” after Miami’s exclusive six-month run, which will boost the museum’s ability to get first-class exhibits from other museums.

“The significance of it to Miami and Miami Children’s Museum is it brings a wonderful traveling exhibit to our community and it also services the entire industry,” said Deborah Spiegelman, chief executive officer and executive director of the museum.

“Unfortunately, in children’s museums, there are not a lot of exceptional quality traveling exhibits for the children’s museum world to rent and bring in. We have found a few and there are a couple leading museums that do some nice exhibits and we bring them in but it’s not enough. We are helping to bring something to fill this niche for 350 museums in this country.”

The focus of Disney Junior is on programming geared to early childhood learning and will be a key driver of the coming exhibit.

“Helping kids learn to appreciate teamwork and recognize the attributes that contribute to being a strong leader is an important milestone in their development and we are delighted to be working with the Miami Children’s Museum on their exhibit featuring the characters and themes from our much loved Disney Junior series, ‘The Lion Guard,’” said Nancy Kanter, executive vice president for content and creative strategy and general manager for Disney Junior Worldwide, in a statement.

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

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