The Smithsonian revealed how Wonder Woman 1984 was able to film inside of the museum. Patty Jenkins was shooting for a throwback vibe with the sequel and getting places to feel period-appropriate was a huge project. She thought about iconic spaces in the nation’s capitol and The Smithsonian immediately stood out. In the museum’s magazine, the institution laid out how they ended up helping the production staff design and print museum placards that would have been at home in the era. The director said, “It’s a place that is so beautiful; the adjustments you have to do are really small.” Despite the locations’ status as open to the public, for the most part, the scenes in the Air and Space Museum had to be filmed in one day. Jenkins and her staff managed to get it all done before opening hours and that was a challenge.
Aline Bonetto, the production designer on the film scoured the scene for inspiration. A lot of the artifacts on display make appearances, but none of them are actually used as props. Before filming, the crew had to add a fake wall to hide the security screening areas. From there, they had to take down the current banners and hide the modern technology from the welcome desk. So, it really ended up being a transformation in small ways.
When it comes to the Dreamstone in the film, one of the museum’s curators says that you wouldn’t catch anything like that in the collections now. Jeffrey Post is a mineralogist like Barbara is in the film, and he thinks you would have a hard time getting that rock into the museum’s collections.
“We would not accept objects with some kind of provenance that can’t be verified,” he began. “I’m not sure I’d even let [a donor] touch [an artifact,] to be honest with you.”
Post went even further in discussing the allure of the gemstones in the glass cases now. “Early on, because they were different and special, they were associated with power and wealth and someone who was special”—just like Barbara Minerva yearns to be. “There’s a sense of awe that does affect us,” Post reflects. “I’m not going to say it’s magic, but awe on its own is sort of a special thing.”
Did you enjoy the museum scenes in WW84? What was your favorite part? Let us know down in the comments!