News | September 23, 2015

The Eric Carle Museum Receives Grant to Restore and Conserve Illustrations by Leonard Weisgard

(Amherst, MA—September 22, 2015)—The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is pleased to announce a prestigious Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for $47,500 to remediate, stabilize, and archive 125 illustrations by renowned children’s book author and artist Leonard Weisgard (1916-2000). Regarded as one of the giants in the field of children’s literature, Weisgard illustrated over 200 books and won numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal in 1947 for The Little Island, written by his frequent collaborator Margaret Wise Brown.

Weisgard’s three children gifted 145 of their father’s artworks to The Carle’s permanent collection. The delicate works on paper and illustration board had been severely compromised by mildew and mold after spending decades stored in a barn in Denmark without the benefit of proper climate control.

“We are thrilled to receive this generous grant that will not only help us preserve Weisgard’s art, but will also help increase staff expertise in best practices for collections management,” said Alexandra Kennedy, executive director.

“For families in Amherst, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art helps to make learning fun and inspire students to love reading,” Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) said. “This grant will support the museum’s mission of preserving this great artwork for future generations and I look forward to seeing them continue to grow as they serve our community.”

Twenty illustrations from the collection were previously selected for treatment in preparation for the exhibition Magician of the Modern: The Art of Leonard Weisgard, to be held in the spring of 2016, the centenary of Weisgard’s birth. During the year-long grant period, the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC) will remediate, mat, and re-house the remaining 125 illustrations in new acid-free boxes. A detailed conservation survey will also be conducted. The Carle’s collections staff will travel to WACC three times to observe the conservators at work and to learn more about the care of works on paper. Topics will include identifying mold, wearing appropriate protection gear, selecting the best medium of support for different types of art, and choosing the proper size storage boxes. 

The Carle’s collecting policy is driven by quality, which has ensured that only the very best in the genre is procured. Since its inception in 2002, The Carle has received thousands of gifts of original art from collectors, artists, and artists’ families eager to help the museum build a world-class collection. The Weisgard collection at The Carle, highlighting the extraordinary collaboration of two of the titans of 20th-century children’s literature, clearly meets the collecting policy’s high standards.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Through grant making, policy development, and research, IMLS helps libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Twitterand Facebook. See more at:


The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. The only full-scale museum of its kind in the United States, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy. Eric and the late Barbara Carle founded the Museum in November 2002. Eric Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Since opening, the 40,000-square foot facility has served more than half a million visitors, including 30,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 13,000 objects, including 6,600 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master’s degree programs in children’s literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call 413-658-1100 or visit the Museum’s website at