Picture Book Museum

A museum nestled in the mountains and valleys of western Massachusetts continues to attract visitors from all over the world, inspiring a love of art and reading through picture books.

Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has been capturing the hearts of readers for decades. It's perhaps what draws thousands of people to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst each year. Carle and his wife, Barbara, founded the museum in 2002. Half a million people have walked through its galleries.

"We are an art museum but we really pride ourselves on welcoming children," said Alexandra Kennedy, the executive director of the museum. "We try to give everybody an experience in which they're really going to immerse themselves in picture books."

That experience includes rotating exhibits, a theater and a library. But many are drawn to the hands-on experience.

"One of the main things that people come here for is really to make art, especially when they have younger children," Kennedy said. "We try to make picture books come alive and give you an opportunity to experience them in lots of familiar ways and lots of new ways."

The museum is the only one of its kind in the United States, a place that pays tribute to Carle's distinctive collage illustrations while celebrating picture books in an idyllic Connecticut River Valley setting.

"Right now, we have guests going out and picking apples. We really try to, like Eric's own books do, sort of pay homage to the beautiful nature that's all around us," said Kennedy.

The Carle takes pride in highlighting works of art that have shaped generations of young readers. From now until Oct. 25, you can check out the museum's special exhibition, "A Renaissance Man: The Art of Fred Marcellino."

The museum also has a lot of special events coming up, including visits from popular children's book authors and illustrators. For more information, click here.

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