The house, for it was once a house, was the home to Avery and Philip Rosenbach, both of whom collected many books, important documents, art, artifacts, furniture, etc. They had no descendants, so everything became a museum for the public and even today anyone can make an appointment to come look through any of their rare and amazing books.
One small section of the library. My uncle, my dad (in the blue hat), Cecilia, my brother in front of the tour guide, his fiancee and then Felicity and Elizabeth in the front.
A copy of the U.S. Congress Resolution of the 13th Amendment from 1865.
A first edition of Stoker's Dracula. In another case they had his original hand written notes.
Hand written notes of Washington Irving on the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain.
Brigid exploring the library.
So many books, so little time.
Yeah, the mouth on the glass was when I intervened.
A highlight for the kids though was not the pegasus tapestry or the chair the real Alice that inspired Carroll's Alice in Wonderland sat in but a special exhibit on the art of Maurice Sendak.
My favorite piece though was the Chertoff Mural.
You can click on the pictures to get closer views, but basically it is a mural he painted for the young children of friends in their bedroom and they donated it to the museum.
They had audio information on it the girls really enjoyed.
I liked it so much I bought a print to frame and hang in the playroom.
It was a surprisingly child-friendly museum. The tour guide gave the kids pictures of things to try to find in each room and phrased some things so they could more easily understand them. This was a bronze sculpture of Max at sea that spins around and the kids were invited to touch it as much as they liked. There was also a large paper mural with markers they were invited to add to as well as a Max costume:
Felicity didn't want to wear the wild thing hat, but was glad to wear the crown and carry the scepter... ever my little princess:
My brother even got into it.
They had a nice sized sitting/reading area for kids with several of Sendak's children's books. After the tour we hung out to snack on a few cookies and cheerios I had brought with me since none of us had had lunch and it was nearing 3pm.
It really was a fun trip and, in the gift shop, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of Sendak's books we already own I hadn't even realized were his work. There were a few I didn't recognize though and I did buy one. I'd never heard of it before, but Kenny's Window has proved to be very delightful and it is not only illustrated by Sendak but written as well. No, I did not pay $600 for an autographed copy. :) It is about a little boy who dreams of a magical garden he wants to live in but to live there he must answer 7 questions and, as he finds the answers to his questions, learns a great deal about himself. It is more for the older child, like 6 and up, but even the younger ones who won't understand everything in the book will enjoy the images and imagination of Kenny, especially when he talks to his toys and they talk back.
But the museum and library wasn't the only reason we made the trip...