Everything Animation” opens at Illinois museum

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Mickey and Min­nie Mouse. Snoopy. The Simp­sons. Big Bird and Elmo. Garfield. Ani­ma­ni­acs. Tweety. Scooby Doo. Raggedy Ann and Andy.

These and a mul­ti­tude of other ani­mated char­ac­ters are now fea­tured in a new exhibit in the Dou­glas County Museum in Tus­cola, Illinois.

Every­thing Ani­ma­tion” opens to the pub­lic from 1 to 4 p.m. Sun­day, Sep­tem­ber 11. The grand open­ing is free to the pub­lic, and refresh­ments will be served.

Hun­dreds of spin-off prod­ucts from ani­mated movies and tele­vi­sion shows are on dis­play, all on loan from the gen­eral pub­lic through­out the exhibit, which con­tin­ues until December.

Museum mem­ber Carol Erb of Sid­ney sug­gested the theme for the exhibit,” noted museum direc­tor and exhibit coor­di­na­tor Lyn­nita Brown. “Per­haps we should call this exhibit Every­thing Ani­ma­tion #1. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of these types of prod­ucts have been mar­keted through the years. We’ve only scratched the sur­face of what types of animated-related items exist in pri­vate col­lec­tions through­out East Cen­tral Illinois.

The show­cases in the museum are full to the brim with some of the cutest, most inge­nious ‘arti­facts’ that mem­bers of the pub­lic have ever tem­porar­ily dis­played in a Dou­glas County Museum exhibit. This is a really cute exhibit that old and young should not miss!”

Ani­ma­tion (a series of draw­ings that give the illu­sion of motion) has been in exis­tence since prior to 1900. Ani­mated short car­toons first became pop­u­lar in the 1910s, and the remain­der of the 20th cen­tury saw tra­di­tional ani­ma­tion come to life on the big screen and on tele­vi­sions in the homes of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. Today’s ani­mated films are mostly computer-generated.

Accord­ing to Brown, there is a strong East Cen­tral Illi­nois con­nec­tion to some of the tal­ented men and women who cre­ated ani­mated char­ac­ters famil­iar to all of us today: “Frank Thomas and Ollie John­ston, two of the most famous ani­ma­tors employed by Walt Dis­ney, had moth­ers and grand­par­ents who once lived in Cham­paign and Dou­glas Coun­ties. Rose­mary Buehrig, a Tus­cola High School grad­u­ate, redesigned Snap, Crackle and Pop in the 1940s.”

Two show­cases in the museum exhibit are ded­i­cated to these three tal­ented artists. Thomas and John­ston authored four books and they are on dis­play. The Buehrig show­case fea­tures copies of Buehrig’s art­work, as well as a pic­ture of the orig­i­nal three Rice Krispies elves. Buehrig also illus­trated children’s books, and some of them are on display.

The “Every­thing Ani­ma­tion” exhibit in the Dou­glas County Museum also includes rare items such as an Ice Mickey loaned by Bar­bara Chum­b­ley of Arcola; rare char­ac­ter soda bot­tles depict­ing Mother Goose, Peter Pan, Big 4 Bev­er­ages, etc., loaned by bot­tle col­lec­tor Bruce Wood of Tus­cola; a tin Dis­ney Tele­vi­sion Play­house owned by Bruce Weath­er­ford of Tus­cola; and 1960s/70s Marx Mickey, Pinoc­chio, Goofy, Peter Pan, Tin­ker Bell and other Dis­ney fig­urines col­lected by Earl Gilmore of Atwood. Gilmore died in 1997, so his wife Joan is dis­play­ing her late husband’s Marx col­lec­tion, as well as four large Dis­ney banks, in his memory.

Among the thou­sands of other items on exhibit are Mickey items owned by Carol Beals of Tus­cola, Mickey art­work owned by Bar­bara Chum­b­ley of Arcola, M&M art­work by local artist Kevin Burke, sheet music loaned by Carol Erb of Sid­ney, Bar­bies loaned by Judy Mar­tin and grand­daugh­ters of Tus­cola, porce­lain Lit­tle Ras­cals also owned by Mar­tin, rare Dis­ney items loaned by sis­ters Sher­rie Spence Hoel and Janet Spence But­ler of Tus­cola, Raggedy Ann and Andy items owned by the museum, Ninja tur­tles and Shrek items loaned by David Set­tle of Bour­bon­nais, and Stu­art Lit­tle and ET items loaned by Lyn­nita Brown of Tuscola.

Marissa Poole, 10, loaned a talk­ing Belle doll, and her brother Michael, 13, loaned Iron Man items, trans­form­ers, and a Pikachu. The Doug, Sheila and Bran­don Honn fam­ily of Tus­cola brought in dozens of unique M&M char­ac­ters for the exhibit, includ­ing sports M&M’s, a rare M&M cal­en­dar, clocks, vehi­cles, shower radios, bears and more. Jen­nifer “Jen­nie” Shoe­maker Jor­dan of Thomas­boro shared her col­lec­tion of Garfield, includ­ing stuffed ani­mals, dozens of Christ­mas orna­ments, fig­urines, watches, etc.

There are sev­eral large col­lec­tions in the exhibit. Eighteen-year-old Hay­ley Maxwell of Cham­paign County has col­lected Scooby Doo for years. Her show­cases include Scooby Doo sea­sonal items, lamps, games, tele­phones, dolls, clocks, drink­ing glasses, prints and more. Ever heard of the “Ani­ma­ni­acs”? Kara Zeimet of Atwood has an amaz­ing dis­play of Ani­ma­niac and Pinky and the Brain fig­urines, puz­zles, stuffed ani­mals, cloth­ing, Valen­tines, books, etc. Zeimet also brought in a large col­lec­tion of Sesame Street items, includ­ing games, lunch boxes, toys, over­sized Pez, dishes, etc.

The way to a child’s stom­ach is through ani­ma­tion, as seen in a dis­play of food-related items that have been ani­mated for com­mer­cials. Among them are Kool-aid, Oscar Mayer, Twinkie, Camp­bell Kids, McDon­alds, Dairy Queen, Pepsi and Coke, Sugar Smacks, Tony the Tiger, M&Ms, the Jolly Green Giant and many more.

Jan Baker of Dou­glas County is exhibit­ing a huge col­lec­tion of Snoopys that she has col­lected for many years. They include hol­i­day Snoopys in the form of witches, pirates, pil­grims, San­tas, campers, Easter Bun­nies, etc. There are rare Belle dogs, Peanuts dishes, cookie jars, drink­ing glasses, snow globes, astro­nauts, Christ­mas orna­ments, pull toys and much more.

Sarah Osborn of Arcola has a huge col­lec­tion of Looney Tunes items, includ­ing rare ceramic fig­urines (each at least a foot tall) of Speedy Gon­za­lez, Scooby, Pepi LePew, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Mar­vin the Mar­t­ian, Tweety, Daffy and many more. Her impres­sive dis­play includes plates, fig­urines, books, toys, tele­phones, snow globes, framed prints and designed jackets.

Brian Mar­tin of Cham­paign County is a huge Simp­sons fan and has amassed a tremen­dous col­lec­tion of Simp­sons items that include games, fig­urines, pins, lunch­boxes, jack in the boxes and more — all Simp­sons favorites such as Grampa, Chief Wig­gum, Homer, Mr. Bruns, Smithers, Bart, Duff­man, Comic Book Guy and more. Vis­i­tors can expect to see all of these — plus Simp­sons boxer shorts — in the exhibit!

The largest dis­play in “Every­thing Ani­ma­tion” is cour­tesy of Dis­ney col­lec­tor extra­or­di­naire Cindy Lou Weath­er­ford Ada­nia of Tus­cola. A mem­ber of the pres­ti­gious Dis­ney Par­ent Pulse panel, she told the museum staff, “The col­lec­tion was build­ing around me with­out me know­ing about it — just from my love of all things Dis­ney.” A col­lec­tor of Dis­ney since 1999, she has vis­ited Dis­ney World 15 times and has spent over 100 days in Dis­ney theme parks.

Ada­nia is the mother of five chil­dren. As a mem­ber of the Dis­ney Par­ent Pulse panel, she joins other ded­i­cated par­ent advi­sors who respond to Dis­ney sur­veys and offer advice on new Dis­ney products.

She is also a mem­ber of the Mickey Mom’s Club. Like all mem­bers of that club, she is enthu­si­as­tic about dis­cov­er­ing and shar­ing the magic and won­der­ment of a Walt Dis­ney World vaca­tion. Ada­nia also writes a Dis­ney fan blog, “With­out a Care in the World,” at dizzneemomma.com.

The mas­sive Ada­nia Dis­ney col­lec­tion on dis­play in “Every­thing Ani­ma­tion” includes Dis­ney Pixar items, Nemo, Toy Story, Snow White, Bugs Life, Poc­a­hon­tas, Mon­sters Inc, Lit­tle Mer­maid, Mickey and Min­nie Mouse, Lady and the Tramp, Win­nie the Pooh, record albums, movie posters, cook­ing uten­sils, games, cos­tumes, prints, toys and so much more.

The exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon­days through Wednes­days and 1 to 4 p.m. Sun­days from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Evening tours are avail­able by call­ing the museum dur­ing reg­u­lar busi­ness hours at (217) 253‑2535 or Brown evenings at (217) 253‑4620.

The Dou­glas County Museum is wheel­chair acces­si­ble, and admis­sion is always free. Visit the museum’s Web site at www.docomuseum.org.

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