The show posted on it's Facebook page that there was to be a free tour of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum at 3pm. Since I've never left on a road trip on time, we of course were running late plus we ran into awful construction delays on I-94.
When we finally got to The Ohio State University campus and found the museum it was well after 3. We had failed. We'll never get to see this hidden wonder.
Then, after getting lost inside the building which is impressively large, we found some staff who informed us that there was another tour happening when this one finishes! Great success! When the first tour finishes we see a ton of SPACE exhibitors all of whom were on time for the 3pm tour.
We were the only two people that showed up for the 4:00 tour.
The person giving the tours that day was associate curator and professor Caitlin McGurk. She could have easily said, sorry fellas I just did your tour and you missed it. Hell, I wouldn't have blamed her. It was Friday afternoon, most folks are already starting their weekend.
|Caitlin McGurk holding an assortment of animation cels.|
Ms. McGurk smiled, introduced herself and began a tour that Michael and I will never forget.
We started with the public exhibits like original art pages from Gene Colan, Frank Miller, Walt Kelly, and many others.
There is a lot of Milton Caniff's work because it was his donation of his artwork and papers that was the genesis of the museum. Mort Walker and Bill Blackbeard also made huge contributions to the institution.
|Mort Walker's drawing table.|
|Steve Canyon daily strips.|
|Joe Dope by Will Eisner.|
|Krazy Kat Sunday page by George Herriman.|
|Original art for Dick Tracy by Chester Gould.|
|Pogo by Walt Kelly.|
|A copy of Bijou #1.|
|Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey.|
Then we went behind the scenes into the archive which are massive. The cold storage available is really stunning. I literally remember how cold it was in there. The Blackbeard collection is constantly being cataloged and consists of 75 tons of material.
One of the strangest things in the archives is a death mask of Milton Caniff. It reminded me of a John Dillinger death mask that I shipped for somebody when I worked at the UPS store.
That was a great experience and probably my only chance I'll get to see the place since I don't see myself back in the Midwest anytime soon which makes it even more special.
Thanks again Caitlin. You are doing the lord's work making sure that these wonderful creations will be preserved for generations to come.