Dr. Seuss at MSI

On New Year’s Eve I finally got out to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Dr. Seuss exhibit. I’m almost as big a Dr. Seuss fan as I am Muppets fan. My grandma gave me Hop On Pop around 4 or 5 years old and I was hooked. I would examine the illustrations in Go Dog! Go! for the tiniest little details. I wanted to know where these dogs were partying and why I couldn’t join them.  I think I still have that book memorized.

Really all I knew about Dr. Seuss was that he was not a real doctor and he wrote children’s books. Turns out he was in advertising for 15 years with Standard Oil’s in-house ad department. From his bio:

Standard Oil recognized Ted’s talent—or at the very least, his obsession with Flit, the pesticide Standard was manufacturing at the time—and offered him a job in their advertising department. Flit’s competitor, Fly-Tox, offered Ted a similar contract and in true Ted Geisel form, he flipped a coin to make the decision. As a result, the phrase “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” was introduced into the American vernacular (Morgan, p. 65). 

But the thing that really struck me was the final part of the exhibit called Dr. Seuss’s Secret Art. He had a whole host of creations that were not for public display and were in a secret room in his house. The one on the left is called, “Fooling Nobody” and was my favorite. My teachers are always telling us, “Let your work tell a story” and this so exemplifies that to me. You just look at it and get it. This isn’t the most colorful or complicated piece in the exhibit, but it was a piece that people really stopped to contemplate.

The exhibit closes on January 8, but if you get the chance I highly recommend checking it out. I did have one complaint and that was there were so many reproduction prints. I would have liked to have seen more original sketches and concept art.  I love seeing pencil and eraser marks and seeing the beginning of the process. But it was still a really fun exhibit.

Oh and one last tip.  When you’re standing in the main hall among all the gorgeous Christmas trees and it starts to “snow”, despite that  joyous Christmas spirit that will come over you and the huge smile that will unconsciously start, close your mouth because that fake snow tastes terrible!  Don’t ask me how I know this.


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