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NMAI Announces Upcoming Exhibition

Willow Buds
Award-Winning Rhode Island Illustrator Mary Jane Begin comes to the NMAI

mouse4/15/08 - I
n honor of 100th anniversary of Kenneth Grahame's  book, The Wind in the Willows, the National Museum of American Illustration (NMAI) will be hosting an exhibition of Mary Jane Begin's original illustrations from The Wind in the Willows. The exhibition will also feature original illustrations from the first book in her new children's series Willow Buds, The Tale of Toad and Badger. The Willow Buds series tells the stories of The Wind in the Willows characters Badger, Toad, and Ratty's early years and how they became such great friends.

The exhibition will open Saturday, June 14 with a book signing by Ms. Begin at 4:00pm. Ms. Begin will give a slide presentation and lecture on Saturday, July 12 at 3:00pm. The exhibition will be on display from June 14 through the end of July.

Mary Jane Begin is known for illustrating such other books as A Mouse Told His MotherLittle Mouse's Painting, and R is for Rhode Island Red. Her fantastical and enchanting illustrations have appeared on various products from greeting cards and giftware, to textbooks and magazines for such clients as Celestial Seasonings, Milton Bradley, Hasbro, See's Candies, Franklin Mint, and Disney.

It should also be noted that Mary Jane Begin's show will be the first exhibition, book signing, and lecture by a contemporary illustrator hosted by the NMAI. While the Museum's American Imagist Collection features illustrators from the Golden Age of Illustration (1895-1945), the Collection's resources include illustrators throughout American history and up to contemporary times. To expose our visitors to the entire breadth and depth of illustration art in our Collection we recently finished construction on five new galleries designed specifically for this purpose. This will permit us to showcase other aspects of illustration including editorial cartooning, early American political cartooning, pulp and pin-up, comics, movie posters, new media images, faculty and student work, anon.
Badger's Mom
For more information on Mary Jane Begin and her upcoming Willow Buds series visit:


From May 24 through September 1 the Museum will open on a General Admissions basis on Saturdays (10:00am to 4:00pm) and (Sundays 11:00pm to 4:00pm), closing at 4:45pm. A guided tour will be held every Friday at 2:00pm by advance reservations. Call 401-851-8949 x18 for reservations and tour availability.
Please Note Well: Children ages 5 to 12 are now permitted entry, but only if they are vouchsafed by parents or guardians as being 'well-behaved.'  Proper dress is required at all times. Photography, cellular phones, backpacks, large bags, food, drink, gum, and smoking are not permitted in the museum. Visitors may be asked for photo identification at any time at the discretion of museum staff.


Individual Admission..........................$25

Senior Citizens (60 and over)
Military Personnel (with ID)..................$22

Students (with ID)...............................$15

Children (5 to 12)................................$10


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The Museum is open year-round for visitors and group tours by advance reservation.
Tickets: $25. Group Tours, Seniors (60+), and Military w/id: $22. Students w/id: $15. Children ages 5 to 12: $10. Children ages 5 to 12 are permitted, only if they are vouchsafed by parents or guardians as being 'well-behaved.'
Vernon Ct Aerial
For More Information, Contact:

nmai logoCatherine Smith
National Museum of American Illustration
492 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840
T: 401-851-8949 ext.18. F: 401-851-8974,

The National Museum of American Illustration is a nonprofit, independent, educational and aesthetic organization. It is located in Newport, RI, on Bellevue Avenue at Vernon Court (1898), a Carreré and Hastings designed Beaux-Arts adaptation of an 18th century French chateau. It is the first national museum devoted exclusively to American illustration art. Illustration consists of original artwork created to be reproduced in books, magazines, newspapers, and advertisements. 'Golden Age' paintings by such luminaries as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, NC Wyeth, JC Leyendecker, and 75 others are displayed in 'Gilded Age' architecture, creating a unique union of architecture and art - a national treasure. The Museum is administered by the American Civilization Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the goal to present the best possible venue for appreciating the greatest collection of illustration art - the most American of American art.

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