Mazza Museum – Get the Picture!
It’s hard to believe, but not everyone who goes to UF has been to one of my favorite spots on campus: the Mazza Museum. It definitely ranks as a hot spot on the admissions tour. I mean, it is a pretty impressive place for future Oilers to see. But, no matter what your major, current Oilers can find a reason to enjoy our campus gem.
So, in case you don’t know, the Mazza Museum is the world’s first, largest and most diverse collection of art from picture books. When you were a little kid having books read to you by your parents, grandparents or teachers, you may not have realized that the illustrations in the book had to be created by an artist. The Mazza Museum has a collection of over 12,000 original pieces of art from those very books, including Arthur, Franklin, and Lilly’s Plastic Purse (some of my personal, childhood favorites). Dr. Jerry Mallett, who was a professor in the College of Education, founded the museum in 1982. He loved picture books and felt that the art from the books should be on display somewhere, so he asked Findlay alumnus, Dr. Gus Mazza and his wife Aleda, to help him purchase the first four original works of art. That’s why it’s called the Mazza Museum.
The Mazza Museum is a place for everyone at UF, not just early childhood education or art majors. There are opportunities for students to get involved in many different ways. One of your professors may take you there for a class, like Dr. Tulley’s gender studies class. The class learned about the topic of gender roles in picture books and how they’ve changed since last century. Another way to experience Mazza is by volunteering at Mazza’s monthly Funday Sunday program. You volunteer to get service hours for a class or just to be a good person. Do you ever want a nice quiet place to study or get away from the grind? The museum is a great place to find some peace and they have an awesome slide that can transport you back to the good old days of being a kid.
One of the best things about the Mazza Museum is that the rock stars of the world of children’s books come to campus each semester to talk about how they write their stories and create their art!
I knew about the magic of Mazza well before I became an Oiler. My school participated in field trips to Mazza and when I was in first grade, my art was chosen to be on display on the Mazza Children’s Art Wall.
Below is a picture of me and children’s book creator, Christopher Canyon. The picture he is holding is a photo of us when he visited my elementary school 11 years ago!
My connection to Mazza doesn’t end there, my mom actually works there! I used to think that I was lucky because I could go to Mazza anytime to meet illustrators or see the amazing artwork on display, but being a student at UF gives you the same privileges. You just have to take advantage of them.