Most children have seen the vibrant collage illustrations in Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a book that has sold 17 million copies and has been translated into 30 languages. This museum, located in Amherst and founded by Carle and his wife, houses hundreds of his collages, sketches, and manuscripts. It's also home to a collection of original illustrations by other children's book artists such as Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Chris Van Allsburg, and Leo Lionni. Art is hung a bit lower than standard museum height to accommodate young viewers, and each gallery contains copies of the books that correspond to the illustrations on the wall.
But for kids, viewing is one thing and doing is another. One of the centerpieces of the museum is Art Studio, a bright space with worktables, nonslip floors, a cleanup station, and shelves holding everything from watercolor paints and puzzle pieces to numerous trays of colored tissue paper. A 130-seat auditorium hosts puppet shows, films, and lectures by visiting artists.
The museum's cozy "living room" contains comfortable couches and armchairs along with more than 2,500 books for visitors to enjoy.
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Address: 125 W. Bay Rd., Amherst, MA
Hours of Operation:
- 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tues.-Fri. and until 5 p.m. on Sat.
- 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Sun.
- Museum also open until 7 p.m. the first Fri. of every Month
Admission: $7 adults; $5 kids
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.