The Eric Carle Museum

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Eric Carle is an American children's book writer and illustrator. He is known for his colorful drawings and delightful animal characters. Carle has used all kinds of animals in his stories. He has even used insects and arachnids as main characters. Some of his best known books are The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Busy Spider.

Caterpillar and spider by Eric Carle
Images: Eric Carle

The Eric Carle Museum is located in Amherst, Massachusetts. It first opened in 2002. Its mission is to inspire a love of art through picture books, something Carle has been doing his entire career as a writer and illustrator. The museum collects, preserves and celebrates picture book illustrations from all over the world. The museum includes three art galleries, an art studio, an auditorium, a picture book reading library, a scholarly library and a Carle bookshop. The museum also hosts exhibitions, educational programs and events.

The museum is a 40,000 square foot contemporary building set in an old apple orchard. It is already home to 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. Carle says the museum was inspired by trips to Japan. Carle and his wife Barbara loved the picture book museums they toured in Japan. Carle says, "In the early 1980s, my wife Barbara and I traveled to Japan and visited several picture book museums there. Inspired, we decided to create a museum in the United States that would also honor picture books, for their importance as works of art and for their educational value. And so, in 2002, 10 years ago, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, opened its doors in Amherst, MA."

This is a virtual tour of the museum provided by the museum itself.

Here's a great video about the museum from Literary Traveler by Literary Traveler founder Francis McGovern. We love the Carle-themed vehicle he pulls up in. Take a look: