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Oh, the places you’ll go! A Dr. Seuss museum opens in Massachusetts

In this May 4, 2017, photo a mural that features Theodor Seuss Geisel, left, also know by his pen na
A portrait of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) at the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum.
(Steven Senne / Associated Press)

Do you like green eggs and ham? Do you like them in a house? How about in a house that’s a museum dedicated to Dr. Seuss?

Fans of Horton, Yertle the Turtle, Marvin K. Mooney and the Cat in the Hat now have a new vacation destination: A museum dedicated to legendary children’s book author Dr. Seuss has opened in Springfield, Mass.

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum opened its doors on Saturday in the town where the iconic writer and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel was born, UPI reports.

The museum’s opening drew about 2,000 visitors, many with “The Cat in the Hat”-style headgear, according to television station WWLP.

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An entrance to the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, Mass.
An entrance to the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, Mass.
(Steven Senne / Associated Press)

Theodor Owens, the great-nephew of Seuss, told WWLP that Springfield was a big influence on his famous relative’s work.

“Mulberry Street and lots of other elements in his stories originated here, from his experience as a kid,” Owens said. “He would be quite impressed with what they’ve put in the show, and to see kind of another side of his life — the more personal side, that doesn’t often get seen by the general public.”

Geisel was born in Springfield in 1904 and later found work as a cartoonist before releasing his first book, “The Pocket Book of Boners,” in 1931. He later gained fame for now-classic works like “If I Ran the Zoo,” “Horton Hears a Who!” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.”

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Geisel died of cancer in 1991 in La Jolla, where he had lived for years.

The new museum contains two stories, with a ground floor aimed at kids and a second floor geared toward adults, according to its official website.

Children play near a bronze statue of a Seuss character at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture
Children play near a bronze statue of a Seuss character at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield, Mass.
(Steven Senne / Associated Press)

“The 3,200-square-foot first floor exhibition will provide opportunities to explore new sounds and vocabulary, play rhyming games, invent stories, and engage in activities that encourage teamwork and creative thinking,” the website explains. “The second floor will be filled with personal memorabilia belonging to Ted Geisel, including original oil paintings, a collection of zany hats and bowties, the original Geisel Grove sign which used to hang in Forest Park, and furniture from Ted’s sitting room and studio, including his drawing board, breakfast table, sofa, and armchair.”

What won’t be on display? Geisel’s lesser-known early advertising work, World War II-era propaganda and political illustrations, which includes racist representations. Kay Simpson, president of the Springfield Museums complex, told the AP that while in the past the organization has exhibited Geisel’s wartime work, it won’t be part of the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss because the new museum is aimed primarily at children.

The museum is Springfield’s second tribute to Seuss. In 2002, the city celebrated the opening of the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, which features five bronze sculptures of some of the author’s most famous characters, including Horton, Yertle and the Cat in the Hat.

John Simpson, project director of exhibitions for the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, and his wif
John Simpson, project director of exhibitions for the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, and his wife, Kay Simpson, president of Springfield Museums, unwrap a statue.
(Steven Senne / Associated Press)
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The new museum seemed to be a hit with Springfield residents.

“A lot of people don’t realize that this is the birthplace of Dr. Seuss, and where all the inspiration and the stories had to come from,” P. Siphanoum told WWLP. “You look around and it’s like, wow. Drawing inspiration from the city, it’s beautiful.”

Schaub is @michaelschaub on Twitter.


UPDATES:

2:45 p.m. This story was updated with additional information about early works by Dr. Seuss that are not included in the museum.


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