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Newberry's Kiddie Land

By Amy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 25, 2008 7:10PM

2008_9_25_newberry.jpgNewberry Library’s free fall exhibition, “Artifacts of Childhood: 700 Years of Children's Books,” meant to showcase and explore the relevance of children’s literature, will be the library’s first exhibition in two decades to focus solely on this theme. 65 of Newberry’s most “important and beautiful” children’s books will be displayed, including 500-year-old Italian and French first illustrated editions of Aesop's Fables and a rare 1865 first edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Oh boy! The concept of the exhibition is to demonstrate the history of children’s education – from morality-infused school primers to an alternative to modern technology – and the way children’s literature has carved out a place for itself in the literature market.

"Artifacts of Childhood shows that childhood itself is not a fixed and immobile state, but instead it is defined culturally," said Paul F. Gehl, co-curator of the exhibit and Custodian, John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing. "By exploring the similarities and changes in children's books and games over the last 700 years, visitors can chart the evolution of the child as student, reader and consumer."

The exhibition will be running alongside the library’s full public program series; lectures, performances, and public discussions all further exploring the cultural role and impact of children's literature.

“Artifacts of Childhood” at The Newbury Library, 60 West Walton Street, September 27 - January 17, exhibition rooms are open Monday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., admission free.

Newberry Public Programming: check calendar for program-specific information

Florence L. Notter, Sailor Tommy, Image courtesy of the Newberry Library