George Lucas breaks ground on $1.5 billion narrative art museum in LA

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Mar 14, 2018, 12:22 PM EDT

Filmmaker George Lucas, known for being the mind behind the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, continues his widespread philanthropic efforts as he breaks ground this week on a museum he’s been trying to get built since 2013.

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, situated near downtown Los Angeles, is a gigantic pop-art project that almost found its home in Chicago before selecting Exposition Park as its final destination. Now, construction on the $1.5 billion, 100 percent Lucas-funded museum (the largest public gift ever given to a municipality) has begun.

But it won’t just be a home for Star Wars props. When the museum opens in 2021, it’ll put all of Lucas’ personal collection on display, which includes art from seemingly every medium — and yes, including stuff from Star Wars.

Film history will be represented with artifacts from Metropolis and Citizen Kane — joining Luke Skywalker’s first lightsaber and Darth Vader’s helmet — while other leaders of form have their work displayed, including Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strips and Norman Rockwell’s paintings. “The idea is that it’s popular art, it’s art that appeals to people emotionally and tells you something about who you are,” Lucas said of his collection.

The location is walking distance to Lucas’ alma mater, the University of Southern California (another recipient of Lucas’s generosity), and plans to offer storytelling and history programs for kids, bringing innovation to education in a way that continues the goals of the Lucasfilm founder’s George Lucas Educational Foundation.

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