The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation
What is the Foundation and what is its aim?
The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation is a charitable Trust set up by Ray on the 10th April 1986. It is the primary aim of the Foundation to protect Ray’s name and body of work as well as archiving, preserving and restoring Ray’s extensive collection.
In addition the Foundation is firmly committed to show and exhibit, for educational and enjoyment purposes, all of Ray’s unique collection and films.
The Trustees include Ray and Diana’s daughter Vanessa Harryhausen who is determined to protect and conserve her father’s name and reputation in the film industry.
It is estimated that there are in excess of 50,000 items in the collection, including original armatured models, hard rubber stand-in models, armatures, original moulds, original artwork, original miniatures, stills, negatives, original equipment, various test and dailies footage, books and many influences, such as paintings and lithographs by Gustav Dore and Willis O’Brien. During Ray’s life, it is remarkable and fortunate that he has rarely thrown anything away, which is why the collection is near complete and contains so much original materials.
With such a vast wealth of archive materials it is a difficult, complex and ongoing task to catalogue and preserve as much of it as possible.
The Foundation recently recovered a huge cache of items from a garage at Ray’s house in Los Angeles. Ray always insisted that if there was anything in the garage then it would be rubbish because it would be unimportant, but what seems unimportant to Ray, is film history to the rest of us. Discovered there were items from his earliest experiments including a triceratops used in Evolution of the World, which still retained its complete latex skin in exceptionally good condition. Also recovered were armatures of the tyrannosaurus rex and the brontosaurus also seen in Evolution, both of which still retained their resin heads and feet. Also found were armatures for the large tentacles featured in It Came From Beneath the Sea still retaining a small amount of cotton and latex covering.
The Foundation is now also cataloguing and preserving these ‘new’ items, along with the main collection.
In November 2010 it was announced that the Foundation was to work with the National Media Museum in Bradford, England, in cataloguing, storing nd preservation of the entire collection, including Ray's London study and workshop. This work has now begun and it is the aim of the Foundation and the museum to eventually allow access to students and film makers who wish to study original items in the collection and in the foreseeable future build a dedicated exhibition gallery to Ray and his unique work. See Collectables.
The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation is a Scottish Charity No SC001419 and recognised by the US Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) as a Tax Exemption Organisation and listed in IRS Publication 78. The registered office of the Foundation is Princes Exchange, 1 Earl Grey Stret, Edinburgh EH3 9EE, UK.