We came, we saw, we imagined walls where none have been built yet, hiked dusty staircases to our three heavenly cartoon museum galleries, stood stupefied and tried to envision where we would hang the limited edition full-color lithograph of Nancy dreaming about eating an ice cream cone.
The exterior of our new home, Sullivant Hall, facing N. High Street.
Curator Jenny Robb and architect Pete Confar look over the blueprints for the 2nd floor of the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum project.
Yes, our most recent hard hat tour of the Sullivant Hall building project was overwhelmingly exciting. Currently, demolition has been completed in the space, and construction begins soon.
Wandering across the North High Street pavilion from our current 6,000 sq-ft facility to the new just-under 30,000 sq-ft facility for the Cartoon Library felt like every metaphor from a college graduation to opening up a birthday gift or running into the living room on Christmas morning. The plans have been over 7 years in the making, and we’re finally just a year away, with something real to behold.
It is particularly thrilling to imagine what this must feel like for the invincible Lucy Caswell, our founding curator, to see this all start coming to fruition.
Founding Curator Lucy Shelton Caswell, in her hard hat lovingly decorated by cartoonist Jeff Smith.
Lucy, who started it all and has been here since Milton Caniff showed up with his collection in the 1970s, will finally see this long-deserved home for the Cartoon Library fully realized. After so many decades of dedicated hard work at preserving and promoting the comics form, the payoff is sure to feel beyond gratifying.
One of multiple collection storage areas.
The expansion of the Cartoon Library into Sullivant Hall offers us boundless potential. Not only will the space have three museum-quality exhibit galleries (complete with security guards, gorgeous custom made cases, and sleek benches), but every other aspect of what we do here will be enhanced.
The immensely expanded storage areas will allow us to consolidate an entire offsite facility we have been using for years. We will have a large seminar room dedicated to Will Eisner for programming as well as a conference room, giving us the potential for all new community outreach opportunities, event hosting, classes and more. We’ll have massive processing facilities for tackling the collection and comfortably accommodating more workers and volunteers. Extensive reading room space, with all new ergonomic furniture to make for the most agreeable researching experience possible. Exhibit preparation, framing, and encapsulation facilities. A gorgeous lobby (architect rendering below) with Billy Ireland’s drawing table prominently displayed in a glass case as you walk in.
Architectural rendering of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum’s north lobby.
Furthermore, we will have two large exquisitely hand-made stained-glass windows of Billy Ireland’s cartoons from The Passing Show, one of which will be back-lit and displayed at the entrance on North High Street, and the other of which will separate the reading room from the north entrance lobby.
This is indeed an exciting time for all of us here at the Cartoon Library, and we hope that all of you out there reading this can share in our glee, let alone join us for our opening festivities next fall! The three galleries in our new building will rotate three times per year, and we have some extremely riveting exhibits in the works. The opening show will be guest curated by the great Brian Walker, whose father’s International Museum of Cartoon Art collection resides here at OSU. Brian came in from Connecticut and spent the past week with us at the Cartoon Library choosing items for the show, and take it from us- it’s going to be something else.
Thank you to all who have supported us in this massive endeavor, we truly cannot wait to be able to give back with bigger and better programming and exhibits than ever before. Fall of 2013 can’t come quicker!
Library and Architecture staff in the soon-to-be home of the Cartoon Library
To see more images of the Sullivant Hall construction project, visit our Facebook page and check out the album “Sullivant Hall Hard Hat Tour”