Home / Storybook Land / Harriet Burns’ Miniature Legacy

Walt chats with Harriet in the model shop as she constructs the Dwarfs’ Cottage from Snow White for Storybook Land.

When I took on this project I found myself being transformed from simply a fan of Storybook Land to a caretaker of it legacy.  A custodian to the craftsmanship and artistry of Imagineers like Harriet Burns.  I briefly met Harriet, along with Imagineering Legend Blaine Gibson, at the barn during dedication ceremony for Ollie Johnston’s station (well before the Storybook Land village was donated to the Carolwood Foundation). Unfortunately, I didn’t ask her about the creation of Storybook Land assuming I would have the chance to talk with her again one day.

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Blaine Gibson, Harriet Burns, and Michael Broggie in front of the newly dedicated Ollie Johnston station – May 18th, 2008

Sadly, Harriet passed away unexpectedly during heart surgery just two months after these photos were taken.  Her passing caught many by surprise, including myself.  It did, however, teach me a hard lesson.  Don’t ever take for granted the time you have to speak with those whose stories and valuable insights into history could be lost forever without warning.  My only hope is that through this restoration I’ll be preserving a piece of Harriet for those who never had the chance to meet such a wonderful woman, a reminder of the amazing things she created and how she enriched the memories of every child that has ever been enchanted by Storybook Land.

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Harriet Burns, Blaine Gibson, and Rob Fendler at Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park.

To learn more about Harriet Burns please visit http://www.imagineerharriet.com/