Five Fabulous Museums Dedicated To Books

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

Who doesn’t love a good museum? In Philadelphia, where Quirk is located, we have a ton of ’em. Rocky even ran up the steps of one. We’re also proud to be the home of the Rosenbach Museum and Library, an incredible place full of rare texts. And that’s not the only museum that’s all books all the time. Here are some more.

Rosenbach Museum (Philadelphia, PA): The Rosenbach Museum and Library was founded in 1954 and is home to the collections of Philip Rosenbach and his younger brother A. S. W. Rosenbach. The museum currently boasts an exhibit on the illustrations of Maurice Sendak, offering a glimpse at three picture books by the Wild Things artist. Beginning May 30th, the museum will display an exhibit titled “Who Owns Ulysses? Joyce and Copyright.” If you can’t make it out to Philadelphia, the Rosenbach’s website alone is worth a visit. Past exhibits on Abe Lincoln, the Civil War, and the history of neckwear are archived and can be explored virtually.

Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC): Founded in 1932, the Folger Shakespeare Library is a world-class research center and prides itself in being the premiere center for Shakespeare studies outside of England. The library is also home to the Folger Theatre, producing three plays a year.

An exhibit titled “Shakespeare’s Sisters: Voices of English and European Women Writers 1500-1700” is currently on display as part of the museum’s celebration of women writers. Visitors can also view one of Shakespeare’s First Folios, which is permanently on display. The Folger owns 82 copies of the First Folio, approximately one-third of those believed to still be in existence.

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (Amherst, MA): Established in 2002, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art houses 40,000 square feet of rotating galleries, hands-on art studios, and an auditorium for performances and lectures.

Currently, the museum is commemorating its 10 year anniversary with an exhibit on Eric Carle’s “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” Said the Sloth. But the museum isn’t entirely Carle-centric. Other current exhibits include Our British Cousins: The Magical Art of Maisy and Friends, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, and Seriously Silly: A Decade of Art and Whimsy by Mo Willems.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (Minneapolis, MN): The Minnesota Center for Book Arts was established in 1985 to celebrate the book as a vibrant art form. The museum boasts rotating exhibits on book art — everything from crafts and paper making to experimental self-publishing techniques.

Sarah Peters’ How High the Moon will be on display through July 20. This work-in-progress is a deconstructed book in two and three dimensions, utilizing collage, paper sculpture, and original text. The Minneapolis College of Art and Design portfolios are also on display at the MCBA, as part of a portfolio exchange project.

American Bookbinders Museum (San Francisco, CA): This museum opened in 2009 and, when it first opened to the public, was only open on Saturday afternoons. The American Bookbinders Museum has since expanded its hours and is now open on Mondays and Thursdays. All other visiting hours are by appointment only, but that’s not elitism.

Tim James, who runs Taurus Bookbindery around the corner, operates the museum as sole financier and curator. A quick look at the museum’s website proves the exhibits impressive and worth a visit during the limited hours.