I started to collect picture books before I had children—in anticipation. I couldn’t wait for the read aloud. Due to luck or because we doggedly exposed him to books, our first son became a book lover nearly as soon as he was born. His babyhood included many hours on our laps with board books open.
This led to the idea of creating a picture book museum to showcase the vast varieties of picture books that my toddler had come across. This would serve as a memory keeper for future days and years to come.
Through the inspiration of my kid’s love for picture books, I was able to do this with the help of my neighbors, who for some reason also shared this dream. It brought about the Eric Carle Museum, named after my neighbor who had brought up the idea in the first place.
The story of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is more The Carrot Seed than The Very Hungry Caterpillar. There was gigantic belief—followed by careful tending. What guided all those founders was this understanding—that art can bring gentle miracles to life. The Museum’s mission, always implicit, reads: “The Eric Carle Museum inspires a love of art and reading through picture books.”
Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a freelance writer and blogger whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Brain Child Magazine and Salon the Huffington Post, Babble and Ceramics Monthly. Her essays have appeared in various anthologies including The Maternal is Political and Wait a Minute, I Have to Take Off My Bra. A writer for Preview Massachusetts Magazine, she keeps a personal blog, Standing in the Shadows at the publication’s news site, the Valley Advocate and a tumblr Refractions. She is a sometime contributor to Momfilter. Follow her on twitter–@standshadows or Pinterest.
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