Six Ways to Explore the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Massachusetts

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Recently celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst,  Massachusetts honors and showcases the life and work of Eric Carle and other picture book artists and publications. The Carle Museum is the first American museum devoted to picture book art. The museum is located on the edge of the Hampshire College and offers beautiful grounds for walking, picnicking, and gathering.  

Eric Carle illustrated and published more than 70 books; A copy of his most famous book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is sold every 30 seconds. The museum is home to a massive collective of books, as well as a large art collection (the majority of which was donated by individuals and families) which is on rotating display in three exhibition galleries, and tons of daily and weekly programs and events for the whole family.

Travel Tips:

  • The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday- check for updates hour and admission fees here.
  • Restrooms and lockers are located near the main entrance and gift shop.
  • A large Bookshop sells the most adorable and fun curated selection of books, gifts, and souvenirs.
  • Plenty of free parking is located in front of the museum. 
  • There is a large lunchroom with plenty of tables (and wide windows that showcase the meadow) and guests are welcome to bring their own lunches and dine in the lunchroom; the only food option on site is a vending machine. A good, nearby option is Atkin’s Farm (less than ½ mile away) which offers tons of take out options. The Eric Carle Museum also has a covered terrace with tables and chairs for eating and relaxing. 
  • Plan on 60 minutes to explore the museum; more time for a story hour or special program.

Six Ways to Explore the Eric Carle Museum :

  1. Learn about the life and legacy of Eric Carle through a lengthy timeline of his life in the North Hall, with memorabilia and artifacts including step by step instructions for recreating the famous Very Hungry Caterpillar. There’s a timeline of his book publications, travels, and life events.
  2. Attend a family friendly program in the auditorium; weekly events include Film Screenings (animated versions of picture book stories) and Happier Family Comedy Shows
  3. Tour three galleries that showcase the artwork and illustrations of various picture book authors. One gallery is dedicated to the work and talent of Eric Carle and the other two galleries have rotating exhibits that change twice a year. When we visited in the spring of 2023, the Carle exhibit featured Eric Carle’s travels to Japan and another gallery showcased the work of author Christian Robinson
  4. Spend time reading and relaxing in the Reading Library, which has hundreds of books, including the entire Carle collection. The Library also hosts interactive story times- check here for the schedule. 
  5. Create your own art project in the Art Studio, which offers a new project every six weeks- check here for the schedule. The studio is filled with sunlight and offers inspiration through educational resources and past projects from guests. 
  6. Take a walk through Bobbie’s Meadow (named for Eric’s wife) and see the fields of wildflowers and 100 year old apple trees. The paved path includes spaces for picnicking, reading and drawing, and space for outdoor programs and events, including yoga for kids!

Looking for more fun in the Springfield area? Check out our full Springfield City Guide, and our posts featuring the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Lupa Zoo, the Springfield Museums, the Springfield Armory, and the Yankee Candle Village. And follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter

Disclosure: Our family was given a media pass to explore the museum; all opinions expressed are my own.

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  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was my FAVORITE book as a kid! I had no idea there was an Eric Carle Museum — I definitely have to plan a visit here someday now! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. I actually didn’t realize that Eric Carle wrote 70 books, and that makes me interested in learning more about him and his other works! Looks like a fun place 🙂

  3. LOVE Eric Carle. I wish I would have known about this museum when my kiddo was smaller. I would have prioritized visiting Massachusetts sooner. What a fun (and cute!) way to spend the day. Perfect for the family!

  4. Wow, I spent almost 40 years teaching at Hampshire College so saw this museum quite a lot. It was really fun to see it through someone else’s eyes. Eric Carle was a genius.

  5. What a super cool museum and gallery! Would love to tour the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Such a great contributor to timeless childhood classics!

  6. What a fun idea for a museum. I The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art would remind me how fun it was to read to our kids and enjoy the colourful and creative art that accompanies the story. I love the idea of creating my own story in the Art Studio – even though my artistic talents are lacking.

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