Hats, Architecture, and Industry: Things that Inspired Dr. Seuss
Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!
Sam-I-Am, Yertle the Turtle, Marvin K. Mooney, the Cat in the Hat, and other silly Dr. Seuss characters have been well-loved by young readers for decades. Best known for his invented words, imaginary animals, and silly yet thought provoking plots, Dr. Seuss is one of the most well-known children’s authors of all time (and two of his books rank amongst the 20 best-selling children’s books ever).
A native of western Massachusetts, Dr. Seuss drew upon his surroundings in order to create images for his stories. The industrial landscape of his hometown of Springfield is reflected in the zany, unaffected-by-gravity architecture found in many illustrations, and the town of Whoville is rumored to be based upon the city of Easthampton and towering Mt. Tom. He is honored locally by the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, a tribute to the author’s ingenious work. Located at the Springfield Museums, the garden is filled with sculptures pulled straight from the pages – visitors can meet the Grinch, Horton the Elephant, and the Lorax up close and personal.
Many of Seuss’ beloved characters, in addition to creative anatomy and goofy personalities, sport headgear the likes of which have never been seen before – until now. For the first time ever, Dr. Seuss’ personal hat collection will be on view! Northampton’s R. Michelson Galleries (132 Main Street) will host Hats off to Dr. Seuss, a nationally touring exhibition that includes not only Seuss’ collection of head fashions but selected works from a secret art collection – all of which have been adapted from Seuss originals.
The exhibition will be on view at the galleries through March 8th, 2014, and fans of all ages and sizes can enjoy a special event in honor of what would’ve been Dr. Seuss’ 110th birthday (held a day early!) from 6-8pm on Saturday, March 1st… The hat-tastic birthday celebration will include a gallery talk at 7pm, and a prize will be awarded to the attendee who sports the most Seussian hat! when visiting, check out original artwork and the secret art by Dr. Seuss, along with unorthodox taxidermy and illustration art.
Readers who have enjoyed Dr. Seuss books throughout their childhood will love the opportunity to try to match hats with stories. Children can also gain perspective on the creative process used by Dr. Seuss while visiting the exhibit – they’ll be able to imagine what it must have been like to look at a hat and feel inspired to create a character, scene, or illustration inspired by its shape, color, size, and design.
Younger children for whom a gallery visit may not be appropriate can celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday at the Springfield Museums on the same day. Held from 10am-5pm, the Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration will include whimsical Seuss-inspired cakes created for a Seuss-off competition, two performances by educational children’s band The Deedle Deedle Dees, hands-on art and science activities, and – of course! – visits from The Cat in the Hat himself!
Of course, families should supplement either of these celebrations with a healthy dose of Seuss reading at home – read your favorite one together, and choose one you’ve never read, too, as a special dose of Seuss birthday celebration!