Mazza Museum of picture book art

mazza-logo-1.gifMy husband will be teaching a Spring 08 course at Winebrenner Theological Seminary on the campus of the University of Findlay (OH). So yesterday we drove down to Findlay so he could show me around, and we stumbled onto a great little secret. This small-town Midwest university is the home of the Mazza Museum, “the world’s first and largest teaching museum devoted to literacy and the art of children’s picture books”! No entrance fee, no crowd, and staffed by a cheery and knowledgeable docent—so we wandered delightedly and didn’t bother to use our museum voices. We saw originals by Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, even Syd Hoff’s classic cover of Danny and the Dinosaur! The collection includes oils, watercolors, sketches, collages, paper sculptures, clay sculptures, quilts, needlework, woodcuts, and more, and all are accompanied by copies of the books so you can see how the artwork became part of the published piece. It is a wonderful, lively little space that we are anxious to take our nieces and nephews to see. The museum has monthly family days with special activities for kids, as well as undergraduate and graduate workshops (I was pleased to learn that Kevin O’Malley, who I recently discovered as the illustrator of the delightful Cinder Edna, will be speaking there next weekend). Apparently they are about to announce the winners of the 2008 Mazza Medallion of Excellence.

The university is located right off I-75, so if you’re in the area or passing through—or, being a lover of books and art and especially the two together, you are willing to drive—do stop in. Hours, directions, and a bunch of other great info are at www.mazzamuseum.org.

02. November 2007 by Mindy
Categories: News, Resources | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. Just to second Mindy’s point about the museum… She is not just speaking as an overly-enthusiastic children’s author. The museum is a really nice look at children’s book art, but it is also really insightful. The art is divided by categories and you get a real sense of the amazing work that goes into producing a book that stimulates the imagination.

  2. Lori,
    I’m the niece of Syd Hoff and am in the process of creating/developing a website dedicated to honoring the legacy of his creative body of work. I have an old interview of his from a Mazza newsletter but didn’t know the museum has the “original” art for “Danny and the Dinosaur”. Can you confirm that it’s truly the original art for the book cover?
    PS. I hope to have http://www.SydHoff.org finished by Dec.

  3. Carol, I sent you an email with some info about how to contact the museum. I certainly can’t confirm the authenticity of the piece since I don’t represent the museum, but it sure looked like the cover—and even if it wasn’t, it was wonderful to see a bit of your uncle’s delightful work! I’m looking forward to exploring the new website when you have it up.