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“Beautiful space but not well utilized”

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Ranked #4 of 21 things to do in Amherst
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a stunning, 40,000 square-foot facility in the heart of the Five College area of Western MA is loved by families, art aficionados and book lovers alike. The Museum houses three Galleries with rotating exhibitions of picture book art from around the world, and a permanent collection which includes works by artists such as Maurice Sendak, Leo Lionni, and Rosemary Wells. A hands-on Art Studio allows visitors to create their own masterpiece any time the Museum is open. The Auditorium hosts regular live performances, daily films, and frequent lectures and guest appearances by renowned authors and illustrators. The comfortable Reading Library is the perfect spot to settle in with a book and a friend, or take in Storytime. The Museum Shop, called by Parent's Choice "the very best bookstore for picture books in the entire world," is stocked with unique gifts and a beautiful array of picture books.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We have been looking forward to visiting this museum for over two years and finally took the 2+ hour drive out to Amherst on Sunday, July 21st, but we were a bit disappointed. The building is beautiful, spacious, clean, and air conditioned (a big plus this summer given the extreme heat) but the galleries are so small and had minimal appeal to us. I guess my expectations were higher given how many wonderful books Mr. Carle has written and illustrated. I wish we had gone the prior weekend when Mo Willems work was featured. Having read some of the recent reviews (after the fact) it sounds like that was a great day and packed with lots of kid friendly activities. On the day that we visited there was a story time in the library led by a children's illustrator and apparently there was a puppet show that day as well although I didn't hear about it until it was too late. My son enjoyed reading the books in the wooden baskets in each of the two galleries but we could have just as easily done that at a library. We ended up paying a relatively steep admission to just read a few books and purchase a few more from the gift shop. I think the galleries should be larger (didn't I read somewhere that the building is 40,000 square feet?) and more interactive (how about a video interview of Mr. Carle or Mo Willems explaining how they come up with their ideas and translate them to picture art?). Also, the staff that was on that day didn't seem very engaged (at least not with us). They seemed more interested in their handheld devices than in interacting with the patrons.

3  Thank notwithoutollie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"gift shop"
in 37 reviews
"all ages"
in 25 reviews
"children's literature"
in 13 reviews
"vending machine"
in 10 reviews
"scavenger hunt"
in 10 reviews
"young children"
in 10 reviews
"my daughter"
in 15 reviews
"craft room"
in 6 reviews
"special exhibit"
in 5 reviews
"hampshire college"
in 13 reviews
"bring your own"
in 7 reviews
"changing exhibits"
in 3 reviews
"complimentary coffee"
in 3 reviews
"an apple"
in 3 reviews
"in addition"
in 10 reviews
"on display"
in 10 reviews
"reading room"
in 4 reviews
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170 - 174 of 235 reviews

Reviewed July 19, 2013

I brought my twin 8 year olds to the museum for the first time last week, although I have wanted to go for years. We went for the Mo Willems day (we are all big Mo Willems fans) and we had a great time. In all honesty my kids had little interest in the Eric Carle part of the museum - they spent a few minutes remembering pictures from books they enjoyed years ago, but were not overly excited about the exhibit. However I loved it! It brought back all sorts of memories of reading great books with my kids when they were younger.

The museum is quite small, so I would go when there is an event happening at the museum or tie it in with a trip into Amherst which is a cute and funky little town. I hope they have plans to expand their collection because what they have now is really great.

I bet younger kids would really love seeing the picture book art - so if you have young kids, go now and don't do like I did and wait until they were just a wee bit too old.

Thank hollybloom24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013 via mobile

This a nice display of Eric Carle's works as well as a small biography of his beginnings. There is one gallery room dedicated to a portion of Mr. Carle's works. As a mother, and lover of picture books, I enjoyed this room.
The highlight for me as a mother was the gallery of Mo Willems. I have three children and have such fond moments reading Mo's books and hearing my children memorize and then read them back to me. I found the biographical information about Mr. Willems and his career interesting too.
Lastly, my two older children and I became used our love of art to enjoy the art studio in the museum. It was such a peaceful room and they have nice staff working there to help. The library kept our youngest busy with his Dad while we busied ourselves.
Overall a nice stop in western MA. It is very small as far as galleries go. It is in a beautiful area of Hampshire College. With the lush green, I'd love to see an outdoor play structure outside in the future. If the museum ever adds on, this would be a nice addition.
Another thought is a dining area with healthy food for families. This is a very rural area and a way to draw families in, might be a food/active area that wouldn't require museum admission. Just a thought!
As previous reviewers stated, you must bring your own food, as there is no where in the museum to buy food(a small vending machine is it).
Plan on this as a stop but its only an hour to keep you busy.

2  Thank kkrm1104
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Happened to go to museum on mo Willems day- looked like everyone was having a great time, even though I didn't know Willems. My "kids" are grown so I'm a bit out of the children's book loop bit we were very impressed with the museum- it's architecture, exhibits, shop full of books etc, and what it offered kids. I enjoyed learning more about Eric Carle and enjoyed his artwork. In addition there are rotating exhibits by other illustrators. Overall a great concept. Be sure to check out the tiles in the restrooms!

Thank kpter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 13, 2013

Great spot to see author and illustrator Mo Willems. Fun stuff for the kids all day. From arts and crafts to a fun search and learn at the art gallery. It really made the kids pay attention to the surrounding art work!

Thank Travalla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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