Local Spotlight: Mazza Museum
Every child begins to experience the world of books through picture books. Additionally, they enjoy the images of children’s books long after the words are added. The University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum is home to one of the world’s most extensive collections of children’s picture book art—housing about 17,000 pieces in its collection.
There is, of course, a method to their madness, which is to promote reading among children.
The museum’s mission is to promote literacy and enrich the lives of all people through the art of picture books. With this in mind, the Mazza Museum invites the public, free of charge, to experience the art of picture books. Additionally, throughout the school year, Mazza has a Children’s Art Exhibit featuring the artwork of local elementary children.
The Mazza Museum offers many opportunities for children and adults, working with schools, community groups, and families to promote literacy by introducing all people to the world of the art of children’s literature. From the Mother Goose Corner in the Miller Gallery to “Everything I Know about Pirates” in the Reinhardt Gallery, there is something to entertain your children and you.
Since the museum has such a massive collection of picture book art, the artwork on display is constantly changing. Only about 3% is on display at any given time. Art is rotated quarterly in the museum. The museum’s feature wall is called The Catherine Freed Galleria. It is changed more frequently. With the frequent changes, you will see something new each time you visit the museum’s six galleries.
The Vault, which holds the museum’s collection, also includes “dummy books.” These are the original drafts authors and illustrators submit to their editors. The Vault also contains unique artifacts from the picture book industry.
The University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum also offers various educational programs for educators, librarians, adult students, and book lovers alike, including conferences, tours, and professional development.
The Mazza Museum holds a monthly Zoom webinar featuring an extraordinary artist and is hosted by the Museum Director, Ben Sapp, and other museum staff members. The webinar is a free opportunity to learn about favorite artists, ask questions, and participate in a draw-along session at the end.
Children will be able to study the work of the artist. They learn about the style and approach to the artwork. After the lesson, they recreate, with their own artistic flair, the artist’s work. Selected children’s artwork will hang in the museum. This is an opportunity for kids to learn about artists and to feel the excitement of their artwork being on display in a public gallery.
The University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum is located in the Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion. You can schedule a guided tour for a fee or download an app to listen to a narration about the artwork and exhibits.