New Bookscape Installation: The Kite Wall!

full wall

From left to right: Snowy Owl, Tiger Angel Fish (and babies!), Chinese Dragon, Wind-up Prop Plane, Pirate Ship, Paper Airplane, Fox, and Box Kite.

Just in time for the 18th anniversary of Cotsen Children Library’s inauguration (Halloween of 1997) we have a high-flying new installation in the gallery. The previously blank white wall at the front of the gallery (just above our offices) is a little more lively now. With the introduction of a sky scene to Bookscape, complete with 8 wood fabricated kites and airbrushed clouds, we hope that the gallery feels fuller and more fun.

Now that everything’s up (whew!) you might be wondering how it all got there. Lucky for you, we meticulously documented the whole procedure:

It all started when we turned this pile of parts…

entry e

Into this 40-foot-tall mobile scaffold.


I won’t say this wasn’t fun to climb.

And of course all the features in the front of the gallery had to be removed (except for the exhibition cases with “Flying Machines!”

kite carnage

Don’t worry, Kangaroo is only sleeping. . .

The kites had to be unboxed, touched-up, and assembled.


Believe it or not, some of the kites were “floated” in crates for their transcontinental trip. They came through without a scratch.

dragon head on table a

Getting the dragon ready for his close-up!

angel fish on riser

The Tiger Angel Fish were inspired by stunt kites.

And finally, mounted and installed on the wall.

prop plane install a

Easy does it…

dragon head

Is that really on tight?

paper airplane install a

Though it was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun. We’d like to thank (once again!) Judson Beaumont and his company Straight Line Designs for making our flighty ideas a reality with whimsical designs and custom fabrications. And none of it could have come together without the hard work and talent of Danielle Swift and Straight Line Design’s Ron Baldesancho.

ship install

Last but not least, like an anxious conductor, Judd instructs Danielle, Ron, and me in the installation of the certainly heavier-than-air ship kite onto the wall.

We hope you enjoy the new addition to the Cotsen gallery! Drop in during our regular hours to see it for yourself!  Don’t forget to take a peek at the exhibition “Flying Machines” too…

New Exhibition: Flying Machines opens October 1st, 2015


Exhibition flyer

Flying Machines: Science and Fantasy will be the next exhibition in the Cotsen gallery. Featuring mechanical flyers from the world of childhood; the show will include illustrated books, board games, an installation of toys, and a very special piece of realia on loan from the Museum Objects Collection.

Centered around two major themes, science and fantasy, the items selected track depictions of flying machines from the realistic to the magical in children’s literature. From the earliest fantastic ideas about man-made flyers, through inventive science fiction and real scientific experiments, into the whimsical machines of impossible flights. The exhibition features imagined contraptions from seven different countries over almost 100 years of flights of fancy (1892-1971).

To appease your curiosity for the next two weeks (since I’m sure you are all waiting with bated breath for the opening) check out some of the books that just didn’t quite make it:


All About Airships, front board, Cotsen 75809


The Flying Grandmother, Page [7], Cotsen 7330


Wings for Per, Endpapers, Cotsen 7248


En aeroplane dans les 7 ciels, Page [10], Cotsen 6492200


Das grosse Erlebnis, Page spread [9-10], Cotsen 58400


Airplanes: Stories and Pictures, Page [26], Cotsen 49801


Air Babies, Title page, Cotsen 31474


Valériane in a Helicopter, Page spread [14-15], Cotsen 21961

If you enjoyed those, the books that actually made it into the exhibition promise to be even better!

Flying Machines: Science and Fantasy

Opening October 1st and running until the end of year. 

Visit during the first 2 days to get a special gallery give away for children (hint: it’s a toy Styrofoam airplane!).

Exhibition title card

Exhibition title card