The Wenham Museum in Wenham, Massachusetts is borrowing artifacts, sketches, and illustrations from the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection for their upcoming exhibit Picture This: 90 Years of Storybook Art (February 3- May 6, 2012).  Classic toy stories will come to life through more than 50 original illustrations, vintage toys, and antique books in a colorful display that is engaging for all ages. In the gallery visitors will be able to make their own picture book to take away after their visit, dress in costume to become part of the story, and use story cubes to create their own picture stories all while enjoying the illustrations and reading classics of children’s literature.

The NCLC is lending two artifacts from Nellie, a cat on her own, written and illustrated by Natalie Babbitt and published in 1989 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.   Ms. Babbitt was born in 1932 in Dayton, OH, the daughter of Ralph Zane and Genevieve (Converse) Moore. She received her B.A. from Smith College in 1954. That same year she married Samuel Fisher Babbitt, who also collaborated with her on her first book, The 49th Magician.

The Babbitt Papers hold the manuscripts, preliminary sketches, finished artwork and models for this and many other Babbitt titles, including her most famous work, the multiple award-winning Tuck Everlasting.   Seven paintings and two sketches by Ms. Babbitt will accompany Nellie and her hat to Wenham. Nellie a cat on her own written and illustrated by Natalie BabbittTo keep Nellie company, eight collages by Ed Young will be featured in the Wenham show as well.  These collages are the finished works of art for his Pinocchio, published in 1996 by Philomel.  Mr. Young, a children’s book author/illustrator and winner of many awards was born in Tientsin, China and raised in Shanghai and Hong Kong, where he was interested in drawing and storytelling from an early age.  He moved to the U.S. in 1951 to study architecture but quickly changed his focus to art.  Mr. Young has illustrated over eighty books, many of which he also wrote.

Pinocchio by Ed Young

The mission of the Wenham Museum is to protect, preserve, and interpret the history and culture of  Boston’s North Shore, domestic life, and the artifacts of childhood.  The Museum was established in 1922, making 2012 its 90th anniversary. It began as an historic house museum, but the first donor, Elizabeth Richards Horton – who also happened to be the last child to grow up in the house – donated nearly 1000 dolls to the museum that had been her childhood home, thus establishing the Wenham Museum as one of the premier museums of dolls, toys, and the artifacts of childhood from the 17th century to the present. Since then the museum has maintained a tradition of celebrating childhood and domestic life through its exhibitions of artifacts that have been a part of childhood for the past 400 years, including children’s books, toys and dolls of all kinds, electric trains, and textiles and objects of domestic life.

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