May 27, 2022

Interview: “Mary Walsh on ‘Cinderella’s Legacy & How the Animation Research Library Keeps Disney History Alive”

From a “Collider” Interview by Haleigh Foutch:

With a cinematic history of animated classics as long and esteemed as Walt Disney Animation Studios, how do you safely, securely, and conveniently store and archive those immense collected works? Where do the sketches, backgrounds, and concept art pieces retire to when the project is complete? In the world of Disney, they head to a nondescript building in southern California, where the Animation Research Library keeps the keys to the kingdom of Disney history in their first-class physical vaults and digital archives.

I was lucky enough to visit the fabled ARL back in 2017 and they do fascinating work there. So, with Cinderella waltzing into the Walt Disney Signature Collection just in time for its 70th anniversary, I jumped at the chance to hop on the phone with ARL Managing Director Mary Walsh. We discussed Cinderella‘s legacy and how the ARL helps with these big anniversary re-releases, how they maintain a 65-million-piece collection, how they work with historians, artists, documentarians, filmmakers and more to provide access and inspiration, how she ended up in such a rarefied field and her advice to anyone looking to follow in her footsteps

Direct to the Complete Interview with Mary Walsh

See Also: @DisneyARL (Disney Animation Research Library on Twitter)

See Also: Cinderella’ Film Feted at Library of Congress (June 21, 2019; via AP)

See Also: The Keeper Of Disney’s Legacy, Archivist Dave Smith Spent 40 Years Preserving The History Of An American Icon (via La Times; November 26, 2016)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.