More than three generations of Americans have been entranced by the illustrations of the monkey "Curious George," but few know the incredible escape made by his creators from Nazis that is being retold at a new exhibit at the National Churchill Museum, slated for a July 16 opening.
The Wartime Escape will be on display from July 16-Oct. 5 at the National Churchill Museum on the Westminster College campus in Fulton, MO. Museum hours are from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily and the cost of the exhibition is included with regular museum admission.
Beginning in the years prior to the war, The Wartime Escape explores the early creative collaborations of Margret and H.A. Rey, creators of the irrepressible little brown monkey known as Curious George. The exhibit traces how the story of George himself spanned the wartime period.
Visitors to the exhibit will learn about the Reys' harrowing escape from the Nazi invasion of Paris at the start of World War II. The Jewish couple stashed a few precious belongings and manuscripts in their knapsacks and fled by bicycle in June 1940. The manuscript and illustrations of Curious George were underway at the time and one of the few personal possessions the couple managed to take with them.
Their five-month odyssey by cycle, train and boat eventually brought them to American shores. A month later, they received a book contract for The Adventures of Fifi that would later be retitled The Adventures of Curious George.
"More than a tale of escape from occupied France, this exhibition celebrates a timeless survival story that serves as a potent reminder of the power of human creativity and the cost when voices and victims are silenced by the impact of war," says Dr. Rob Havers, Executive Director of the Museum.
The exhibit features framed art prints by artist Allan Drummond and supplemental archival images from the holdings of the DeGrummond Collection of Children's Literature at the University of Southern Mississippi.
The exhibition is courtesy of ExhibitsUSA, a national program of the Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 20 exhibitions on tour annually to more than 100 small and mid-sized communities. The Alliance is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information on the two organizations is available at www.eusa.org and www.maaa.org.
For more information on this or other exhibits at the National Churchill Museum, please contact Mandy Plybon, Education & Public Programs Coordinator, at 573-592-6242 or email her at Mandy.Plybon@churchillmemorial.org.