Will there be a Maurice Sendak Museum in Ridgefield?
YES. INDEED, THERE IS. The legendary children’s book illustrator and author, Maurice Sendak, who died in 2012 at the age of 83, specified in his will that the collection of work he had previously loaned to the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia should be returned to his Ridgefield home upon his death. The Maurice Sendak Foundation inherited his work, and the foundation is based on Chestnut Hill Road, where Sendak lived. His hope was that the materials would become the trappings of a museum here. The Philadelphia Enquirer reports that the collection has more than 10,000 items, including Sendak’s manuscripts, illustrations, and books along with many other materials. While the Rosenbach Museum will keep about 600 pieces, the rest are being returned to Ridgefield.
The Rosenbach has housed the Sendak Collection since 1966, when the author and illustrator first began placing his items there. Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, Into the Night Kitchen, and other favorites, donated $3 million to the museum’s endow- ment and served on its board for years. Though the museum is disappointed to see the majority of the collection go, the request for removal is not unexpected. The Rosenbach’s Sendak curator Patrick Rogers says, “Even when I came on board, it was emphasized that this stuff is not ours. I am sorry it can’t stay here, but glad it will go with its brethren.”
The Rosenbach began transferring the collection to Ridgefield in mid- October. The plans for the museum are not yet finalized.