Harriet Burns was the first female Imagineer and part of the nucleus of artists who developed WED’s Model Shop, along with Wathel Rogers and Fred Joerger.

Born August 20, 1928, in San Antonio, Texas, Harriet received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and went on to study advanced design for another year at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.


When Dice went out of business in 1955, a co-employee who had once worked at Disney beat tracks back to the Studio and invited Harriet to come along. Subsequently, she was hired to paint sets and props for the new “Mickey Mouse Club” television show. Harriet soon began coordinating the show’s color styling and even designed and built the famous “Mouseclubouse.”

She later joined WED where she helped create Sleeping Beauty Castle, New Orleans Square, the Haunted Mansion, and more. She also helped construct Storybook Land and designed all of the “singing birds” in the Enchanted Tiki Room. […]

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