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Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak

October 22 – January 8, 2023

There’s room to run, stories to explore, and Wild Things to become at the Upcountry History Museum.

He was one of the greatest creators of children’s books in the 20th century – though he didn’t like the term “children’s books” and preferred “books that children like.” Author and artist Maurice Sendak upended expectations by depicting menace, anxiety and “wild” behavior in picture books devoured by readers of all ages.

The Upcountry History Museum will serve as the only South Carolina stop on the Wild Things national exhibition tour. Visitors of all ages will experience the fantastical imagination of Maurice Sendak as they explore over 50 pieces of original artwork and step into the pages of his beloved books.

The immersive exhibition celebrates Sendak’s life and work by showcasing his most famous pieces through preliminary sketches, finished artwork, and interactive experiences. All of this is told through the words of Sendak himself, intimately connecting the artist to his art and stories.

Sendak created a visual language that has captivated generations of children. Although he sometimes indulged in lighthearted plots, his picture books often had menacing elements: fanged monsters, baby stealing goblins and young protagonists placed in dangerous situations. Sendak intentionally gave children the opportunity to engage with ethical dilemmas, to feel afraid as well as joyful, and to take part in imaginative play.

During his long career Sendak illustrated over one hundred books, which continue to thrill and fascinate life-long learners all over the world. The fifty works of art in the exhibition will be accompanied by quotes from fellow illustrators, friends, and celebrities, sharing their thoughts on Sendak and the ways in which he inspired them. As comedian Stephen Colbert stated, “His art gave us a fantastical but un-romanticized reminder of what childhood truly felt like.”

Curriculum based lessons, along with “rumpus themed” family and adult programs will coincide with the exhibition and its timeless messages.