Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are (& other books) in the old Please Touch Museum

What saddened me the most about the closing of the old Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia is that it had a whole section (approximately 1/8th of the small museum) whose theme was three of Maurice Sendak's books: Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and Outside Over There (which must be one of the creepiest children's book ever, particularly from a mother's point of view -- it has indirectly to do with depression [possibly PPD]). Here's a PTM blog post explaining a bit about the exhibit and its history. As a passionate children's book fan and scholar (I taught WtWTA a few times and wrote a paper about ItNK), this exhibit was one of my favorite parts of the museum.

I decided to write this "photo post" because of the imminent release (tomorrow!) of Spike Jonze's version of Where the Wild Things Are (check out a great post on the film over at Food for Thought, my friend Caroline's blog). I have tears in my eyes just from watching the trailer... I will most certainly buy the DVD so the boys will be able to watch the movie in a few years (they are very sensitive and don't watch longer films yet or go to the movies). HBO also premiered Spike Jonze's documentary on Maurice Sendak last night -- great article about it from the LA Times.

I don't have a "panoramic" photo of the exhibit, but it was in the right backside of the museum, adjacent to the famous SEPTA bus exhibit:
Max's bed (Aug. 06):
The bed had some Max and Wild Things dolls one could play with and I'm sure those sketches on the wall are Maurice Sendak's self portraits. Across from this bed there was a chest of drawers and a hanger with various sizes of Max's wolf costume for the kids to wear (you can see the hanger and suit(s) behind Kelvin in the bus photo above, which also portrays my dad). My boys never wanted to put them on (they're not into dress up games).

The boat (Sept. 07, Kelvin was 5.5):Two other boat angles (Aug. 06, Kelvin was 4)

One of the Wild Things (Sept. 07):
In the Night Kitchen area (Aug. 06):There was a climbing tunnel (a carton of milk) and a slide that the boys enjoyed. Here's an action shot:The tube filled with "milk" when we used a crank on the side of the giant bottle.

The only photo I have of the Outside Over There corner (Aug. 06), which had the gazebo from the book (to the left of the photo). It was a place with that wagon to sit on, benches to read and bookshelves nearby, including a big fixed folio of Sendak's books and some dolls to put to bed (creepy thing to do in the context of the book):
Oh, I just found out that my mom took another photo of this space in 2007:
The gazebo is actually to the right of the wagon. There's also a "fireplace"/bookshelf and a table and chairs (I'd forgotten). I think this is the space where Story Time used to be held.

There's a lot I could say about Sendak and his works, but I've already taken many hours to write this post. For the locals, you can visit the Rosenbach Museum which has a Maurice Sendak room and special Where the Wild Things Are related events this very weekend! (I'll try to go).

1 comment:

chris brown said...

This is cool i love this morning...