2022 marks the 20th anniversary of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, founded by the late famed children’s picture book author Eric Carle and his wife, and the first full-service museum in the United States with collections covering both the national and international picture book fields. On the occasion of the anniversary, the museum will launch a six-month series of celebratory events beginning on June 25. Hundreds of items from the collection will be on display online through the official website, including several illustrations from the museum’s permanent collection.
According to the official website of the Avery Carr Museum, the museum will launch a six-month series of activities starting June 25 to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Hundreds of classic collections will be exhibited online for the first time, and visitors will be able to visit the website for free. At the same time, the 2022 Avery Carr Honors (The Carle Honors), announced in early March, will also be awarded during the ceremony, and China’s children’s book translator A A was awarded this year’s Bridge Award, the first Chinese person to receive this honor.
The museum was founded in Massachusetts in 2002 by Eric Carle (June 25, 1929 – May 23, 2021), a well-known American children’s picture book author and author of “The Hungry Caterpillar,” and his wife. It is said to have been inspired by the picture book museums the pair visited during their visit to Japan. “It has always been our dream to create a museum for children and families, teachers and librarians, scholars, and all those interested in the art of picture books.” Today, visitors can still see the couple’s vision from those days on the walls of the museum’s admission area.
“This 20th anniversary celebration is an important milestone, both for the Avery Carr Museum and for the children’s book community.” said Alexandra Kennedy, the current executive director of the Avery Carr Museum. She added that since its opening on Nov. 22, 2002, the museum has had “many accomplishments,” with the majority of its permanent collection donated by multiple donors, and has attracted many visitors. To date, the museum has received nearly 1 million visitors, including more than 50,000 children.
On the opening day, the Avery Carr Museum will showcase more than 90 collages from 20 artists around the world who specialize in collage design. Carr passed away in May 2021, and the opening day would have been his 93rd birthday. Kennedy thought it was the perfect way to pay tribute to him, “Carr himself was a master of collage, creating art with materials such as colored silk fabrics for 50 years. For visitors, the collage offers a tactile, realistic touch, while the format invites artists to continue to express their creativity.
On September 29, the 2022 Avery Carr Honor Award ceremony will be held together with the evening art auction that evening. A A, a famous Chinese reading promoter and translator of children’s books, will be awarded the “Bridge Award”. A short film documenting the museum’s 20-year history will also be shown.
Rebecca Miller Goggins, the museum’s director of development, says the recognition is different than in previous years, “When the epidemic left us in deep trouble, it was the picture books that allowed us to keep reconnecting with each other, reminding us to be the best we can be.” In that sense, he sees the award as a tribute to those “who make picture books possible.
As the highlight of the anniversary series, on November 19, the museum will display offline more than 60 new paintings that have been added to the museum over the past five years, mostly by donation, covering classic picture book illustrations from more than a century, including the 1899 ink illustrations of Golden Age British illustrator Charles Robinson, the 1941 drawings of the groundbreaking American illustrator Wanda. The exhibits include 1899 ink illustrations by Golden Age British illustrator Charles Robinson, 1941 watercolors by pioneering American illustrator Wanda Gág, and more.
Wanda Geiger’s 1941 picture book Nothing at All won the 1942 Cadillac Honor Award, and her 1928 picture book Millions of Cats won the 1929 Newbery Honor Award for Children’s Literature.
For those unable to attend the exhibition in person, the museum will launch a “Cloud View” on November 22, the official anniversary, with hundreds of new objects from the collection available to the public via online channels. The museum’s collection totals more than 11,000 pieces, of which more than 7,300 belong to the museum’s permanent collection of paintings.
It is reported that the museum will also start a traveling exhibition program, and one after another with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the New York Historical Society and other institutions to establish a long-term partnership to introduce picture books to more readers, the current project on display is “Picturing the Dream: Telling the Story of the American Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books. In response, Kennedy said, “This is a great example of how large art and history museums can open their arms to works created specifically for children and help tell those important stories together.”