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An Illustrious Trail

Oh, the places you can go! The Dr. Seuss Museum becomes part of the Illustrators Museum Trail



Museum in Amherst is collaborating with the Norman Rockwell and Springfield (Dr. Seuss) museums to create an Iconic Illustrators Trail.

Photo: Care of Eric Carle Museum

A small man under a half-fallen tree holds up a lantern to watch fireflies. A blue peacock spreads his feathers at dusk in falling snow. An elephant hunches on a branch in the rain. Fantasy worlds, in this part of the world, come thick on the ground. And they’re about to collide.

The small world of illustrators has overlapped over the years at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, and the Dr. Seuss sculpture garden at the Springfield Museums. Then, last spring, as the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum was set to open at the Springfield Museums (in Theodore Geisel’s native city), Laura Berliner, the Rockwell’s director of visitor experience, crossed paths with Karen Fisk, PR and marketing director at the Springfield Museums, and Alexandra Kenney, director of the Eric Carle Museum, at an event in Pioneer Valley. The meeting heated an idea that had been percolating for years: Three museums dedicated to illustration within an hour’s drive of each other can work together. 

After a year of collaborating, the directors launched the Iconic Illustrators Trail on November 20, laying plans for joint programming and offering a joint ticket. (The combined-ticket deal is $44 for a single person or $99 for a family pack until December 31, then the family pack will cost $120.) They have lent artwork and helped each other over the years, but the Trail will begin a more consistent collaboration, sharing resources (illustratorstrail.org) and encouraging visitors to explore the Trail between Pioneer Valley and the Berkshires. 

Norman Rockwell Museum

Illustration and narrative art have been growing in recognition, says Jeremy Clowe, manager of media services at the Norman Rockwell Museum, as comic books and graphic novels continue to gain in popularity, even in a digital world, and the time is right for a partnership to take hold.

The museum has exhibited narrative artwork and illustration beyond Rockwell’s for 40 years, Clowe says. “The Illustrator’s Moment” opened in 1978 at the museum’s former location, the Old Corner House, with work from Howard Pyle, J.C. Leyendecker, Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth, and Edwin Austin Abbey. 

This winter, it holds a retrospective of Tony DiTerlizzi’s sprites and extraterrestrials, robots and amiable dragons. The show spans his early children’s books and illustrations for Dungeons and Dragons through his bestselling Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black—griffins, goblin buggies, giants, and all, some of them giving nods to Rockwell and his playful scenes—with game-playing and art-making events along the way.

DiTerlizzi is based in Pioneer Valley, Clowe says, and he champions the medium he’s working in. He is on the board of the Eric Carle and co-curated “Collecting Inspiration: Contemporary Illustrators and Their Heroes,” there through November 27, which invited contemporary artists to celebrate the artists they love.

Eric Carle Museum

Seeing the artwork up close amazes people with its beauty and complexity, de Montricha says. Carle and his wife, Barbara, founded the museum in 2002. They had seen picture-book museums in Japan and wanted to honor the art form in the U.S. Today, the museum has more than 200 artists and 7,300 objects in its collection. A new exhibit displays highlights from the last five years to celebrate the museums 15th anniversary: “Treasures of the Collection” opened November 19, bringing together characters—including Eloise, William Steig’s Shreck, Peter Rabbit, and Stuart Little—spilling out of crates and onto the walls. The show gathers work from Leo Lionni’s real and imagined botany to Jerry Pinkney’s vivid watercolors and Chris Van Allsberg’s magical worlds. 

The Carle show covers 100 years, de Montricha says, up to Ekua Holmes and Carole Boston Weatherford’s Voice of Freedom, a 2015 Caldecott Honor Book telling the story of Fannie Lou Hamer, the civil-rights fight, and the Freedom Summer of 1964.

At the same time, opening December 12, the museum will pay tribute with “Eighty Years of Caldecott Books,” to honor the American Library Association’s annual children’s-book award, with books and artwork from the early days to the 2017 winner, Javaka Steptoe’s Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

As the Eric Carle Museum opened its doors in 2002, Theodore Geisel’s stepdaughter, Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, was creating a sculpture garden in Geisel’s home city of Springfield, with a tower of turtles, a life-size elephant, and dashing Things One and Two.

Geisel grew up across from the turrets of the Howard Street Armory. His father was Forest Park zookeeper and would bring home horns and feathers, which Geisel fashioned into imaginary creatures.

Now, children (and adults) at the new Dr. Seuss Museum can rhyme out loud or take a rest on Mr. Gump’s seven-hump wump. On the first floor, interactive exhibits explore Seuss’s books and the Springfield he knew, and the second floor looks into his life and family with drawings and sketches. 

Dimond-Cates remembers seeing a boy there one morning with his father. The boy was hanging onto the sculpture, and she came closer, concerned for her work—until she heard him say, “Now I know what the cat looks like,” and she realized the boy was blind. He had wanted to get close to the Cat in the Hat, and she had brought her stepfather’s imaginary monsters close enough for him to touch.

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Zachary Zaitzeff is a painter living in the Hudson Valley who has incorporated his extensive world travel, including his 2011 summit of Mount Everest, into his artwork. Zachary spent 2018 studying...

Cost: free

Where:
RT Facts Gallery
8 Old Barns Rd
Kent, CT  06757
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Sponsor: RT Facts
Telephone: 860-927-1700
Contact Name: Natalie Randall
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Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
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We invite families to drop-in and enjoy interactive pop-up activity stations, gallery games, and art projects around the KMA.  Get inspired by Outrageous Ornament: Extreme Jewelry in the 21st...

Cost: Member price: Free Non-Member price: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Katonah Museum
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
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Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555
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Calling all fans of Scottish food and Diana Galbaldon’s Outlander series. Don your tartan, make like Jamie’s clan motto and be ready! You’re invited to an amazing Outlander...

Cost: 100.00

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
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Telephone: 860-355-0300
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Friday, Jan. 25 Wilton Library Mini Golf Tourney for Adults, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. The kids had so much fun at last year’s Mini Golf fundraiser, that Wilton Library is holding one for adults only...

Cost: $50 and up

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
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Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Contact Name: Wilton Library
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Original members of the Billy Joel Band featuring Liberty DeVitto on drums, Richie Cannata on saxophone and Russell Javors on rhythm guitar. The band recorded and toured extensively with Billy Joel...

Cost: $40

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Telephone: (203) 438-5795
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Born from humble beginnings in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, CT The Alpaca Gnomes cut their teeth in the neighborhood bar scene by playing marathon shows filled with originals and a wide...

Cost: $15.00 - $20.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
71 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Jeanne Moore
Telephone: (203) 831-5004
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
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Are you a lifelong with a passion for sharing history? Find out about becoming a Museum Docent! Docents are trained volunteer educators who present guided tours and other education programs to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Bring the baby and enjoy a lively conversation inspired by the art on view. Enjoy light snacks while socializing with newly-made friends. Crying babies welcome and activities provided for older...

Cost: Member price: Free Non-Member price with Museum admission: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
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Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555
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Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Blending nature and spirituality, Connecticut artist Lori Barker explores the rhythms of life in a new collection of mixed media works on display at the Gunn Memorial Library Stairwell Gallery from...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library Stairwell Gallery
5 Wykeham Rd.
Washington, CT  06793
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Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey

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Winter Guided Hike @ Woodcock Nature Center Saturday January 26th, 10-11:30am, FREE ​ Join Mr. Sam for a hike where we'll investigate whats going on in nature in the winter season and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Woodcock Nature Center
56 Deer Run Road
Wilton, CT  06897
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Sponsor: Woodcock Nature Center
Telephone: (203) 762-7280
Contact Name: Sam Nunes
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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
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Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

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Saturday, Jan. 26 Mini Golf Family Day in the Stacks at Wilton Library, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wilton Library will hold its 2nd mini golf fundraising event. There will be food (each paid admission will...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
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Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Contact Name: Wilton Library
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  Touchon transforms verbal language into handsome geometric compilations, to reveal the beauty and musicality of language characterized by warmly colored shapes, interlocking irregular grids and...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
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Zachary Zaitzeff is a painter living in the Hudson Valley who has incorporated his extensive world travel, including his 2011 summit of Mount Everest, into his artwork. Zachary spent 2018 studying...

Cost: free

Where:
RT Facts Gallery
8 Old Barns Rd
Kent, CT  06757
View map »


Sponsor: RT Facts
Telephone: 860-927-1700
Contact Name: Natalie Randall
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

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Saturday, January 26th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Ages 4+ Attend for groovy crafts, snacks, games, and more in celebration of the Pete the Cat book series. This event is free and no registration is...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Hudson Chorale, the area’s largest mixed voice chorus, is poised to please.  The group will begin its 2019 season with two matinee concerts on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 3:00 pm and Sunday,...

Cost: Advance Sale-$25; Door-$30; Students-$10.

Where:
The Chapel at Maryknoll
55 Ryder Rd
Ossining, NY  10562
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Sponsor: Hudson Chorale
Telephone: 1-800-838-3006
Contact Name: Anne Norum
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Join us for a very special evening of music from these four accomplished singer songwriters: David Ray, Mike Latini, Dave Goldenberg, George Mallas.  

Cost: 20.00

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
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Telephone: 860-355-0300
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Join us for another incredible evening of music featuring four local singer songwriters performing original music! Doors open at 7pm in New Morning’s handicapped accessible Community Room on the...

Cost: Free

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St North
Woodbury, CT  06798
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Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
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