By: Leah Palm
The University of Findlay is home to the nationally recognized Mazza Museum, but very few students on campus, or individuals in the community, take part in what it has to offer. An upcoming donation from award-winning Author/Illustrator Tom Lichtenheld could change that.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, Lichtenheld made an appearance at the Mazza for a ceremony honoring his generous donation of 28 books and works of art. Lichtenheld collaborated on multiple popular children’s books such as “Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site” and “Steam Train Dream Chain.” His donations to the museum will include artistic renditions and manuscripts from multiple books.
Lichtenheld’s work has been sitting in his basement for years, which is what prompted his and his wife’s decision to donate the work to the Mazza.
“First of all, it’s a real museum,” Lichtenheld explained. “It’s a gallery and it has archives and there is a lot of similar work there so it feels really good to be amongst that collection.” He adds that the archival system at the Mazza is state-of-the-art, and added to their decision to donate to the museum.
“I think I just like the accessibility of the Mazza Museum. I like having met the people there, I like that it’s in the Midwest, I am a mid-westerner myself,” said Lichtenheld.“It just felt more fitting for me to approach them.”
Ben Sapp, director of the Mazza Museum, shares his excitement regarding the donation.
“He is donating 28 total books that he has created where there is only one original. We are very excited. He’s been on the New York Times best sellers list more than I can ever remember anyone else being,” said Sapp.
Beyond the addition of iconic books that will add to their educational collection, the donation of Lichtenheld’s work speaks volumes about the museum itself.
“It was just somewhat of a humbling experience to think and to know that the work you’re doing here had that much of an impact on the artist to decide that this is where he wanted everything to come and to live and to be forever,” stated Sapp.
Lichtenheld’s work will be added to the museum’s archive to help further educate children and adults about the world of children’s books, the work that goes into them, and the meaning behind them.