Grand Opening of Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

Four of us from the Museum traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for the grand opening of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum and the triennial Festival of Cartoon Art on November 14-17.

Jessica Ruskin, education director; Corry Kanzenberg, curator; Rose Marie McDaniel, board member; and I all went on behalf of the Museum. Lex Fajardo from Creative Associates, whose main focus is publishing, also attended.

A couple of hundred cartoonists were present, as well as many students, faculty, and local citizens taking advantage of a cultural event, so it was a great reunion for Rosie and me and an opportunity for Corry, Jessica, and Lex to meet cartoonists and colleagues in the museum field. I know that some great collaborations for the Museum will come from this meeting.

While the official ribbon cutting f‎or the opening of the Library and Museum was Friday evening, the Festival began Thursday with the presentation of academic papers focusing on a deep dive into many subjects like: Snakes, Rabbits, Frogs, Rats, Turtles, Bugs, Berries, Ghosts and Legends: Walt Kelly’s Bridgeport and the imaginative Landscapes of Pogo and Peter Wheat. Another that caught my eye was It was a Dark and Stormy Night…Intertextual Metafiction In and About Peanuts. These sessions were held in the Jean and Charles Schulz Lecture Hall.




This high-performance document camera captures and stores images on an SD memory card, which enhances the classroom teaching and learning experience.

Santa Rosa’s own Stephan Pastis‎, was one of the featured speakers. I heard Stephan speak at his son’s high school last week, which was a much more general presentation. This talk to his peers, as well as the general public including quite a few children, traced his love affair with drawing and his somewhat unorthodox transition into the world of profession cartooning. Here is one of Stephan’s early drawings and most readers of this blog can see definite changes from this beginning to Pearls Before Swine.


Also speaking was Kazu Kibushi, author of The Amulet Series. Kazu spoke here two years ago and signed books for our visitors. Kazu is committed to reaching out to middle school students. When he was here two years ago, the entire sixth grade of a nearby school came to the Museum for his talk and drawing sessions. We look forward to welcoming him back again to speak in April at the Museum.


The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum was a dream of Lucy Shelton Caswell, a long time friend and a Schulz Museum board member. She was honored by King Features Syndicate president Rocky Shepherd and comics editor Brendan Burford with King Features Elise Segar Award. Segar was the originator of Thimble Theater which later morphed into Popeye, and which was one of the strips I remember fondly as a child.

The Segar Award will most likely reside in the Caswell home, but a permanent honor to her within the Library is the Lucy Shelton Caswell Reading Room on the first floor of the building. It is a wonderfully comfortable room.



This Reading Room will ultimately contain four times more material than was available at the Library’s former reference room.


—Jean Schulz


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