Visiting The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
By Meg Brunson
Eric Carle is one of my favorite authors and illustrators from my childhood. Of course I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and also The Grouchy Ladybug, Brown Bear Brown Bear... the list goes on and on! I told myself that if I every visited Western Massachusetts I would be sure to bring the family to The Carle - and this year I was able to make good on that promise!
The Carle is not dedicated purely to Eric Carle, though a lot of his work is represented throughout the venue. The museum celebrates ALL picture book art. The kids loved spending time in the library - playing with toys, making friends, and of course reading a variety of books!
The exhibit halls reminded me of a cross between an art museum and a children's museum. The walls display a variety of art, and there are interactive displays scattered throughout the museum. The kids loved picnicing with felt foods, designing their own mazes, and putting on puppet shows while learning about different illustrators.
The museum also offers an art studio that has a unique theme every month to guide the creativity of visitors. During our visit, the theme "Under the Sea" corresponded nicely to the main Eric Carle exhibit in the exhibit hall. The studio provided access to a variety of art supplies and our imaginations were the limit. After creating our masterpieces, the museum offered to hang our art for other guests to enjoy - or we could bring it home. We opted to take pics for the memories, and leave the works hanging in the studio!
In all the years I've read and loved Eric Carle, I never really learned (or remember learning) exactly how he created his art - so I loved the step-by-step display of how this was done. We also all loved learning interesting facts about Mr. Carle - like he was born in Syracuse, NY (not far from where my children and I were born in Rochester, NY). Also, he moved to Germany prior to World War 2 - and his dad was conscripted to fight for the Nazis. This raised some interesting discussions with my kids who recently visited the Holocaust Museum and also the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Museum (FDR served as president in the US during WWII). It was a history lesson/connection that we had no idea we'd make that day!
- Pack a Lunch - There is not a restaurant on-site, but they do have a "cafe" eating area where you can enjoy your lunch (or a snack) inside if picnicing outsite is not your style! And if you don't pack enough, there is a vending machine with some healthy choices on site as well!
- Potty Breaks - Even if you get lucky, and don't NEED to wrangle the kids into using the bathroom, you SHOULD visit the restrooms - we loved them as much as we loved the rest of the museum!
- Illustrators Trail - Purchase a combo ticket if you're up for a bit of travel to visit The Carle PLUS 2 additional iconic illustrators: Norman Rockwell, and Dr. Seuss at nearby museums! Learn more HERE.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is focused on picture books, but is a perfect destination for kids (and adults) of all ages. There are plenty of interactive exhibits and opportunities to learn about illustrations and children's literature. Eric Carle books are iconic in elementary schools, and visiting this museum was so nostalgic for myself and my husband - whereas my kids loved seeing their favorite books from the classroom represented in this amazing museum! Begin planning your next trip at https://www.carlemuseum.org!
Read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Year-Long Road Trip!
© 2019 Meg Brunson
Thanks to The Eric Carle Musuem for Picture Book Art for sponsoring this review. All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!
Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four kids who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles KidsOutAndAbout.com's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at MegBrunson.com!