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Pop-up Book Exhibition Opens Sept. 16 at UNH Museum

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POP-UP!: Paper-Engineered Books from the Carel Chapmen Movable Book Collection.

An exhibit of pop-up books opens at the UNH Museum in the Dimond Library Friday, Sept. 16 and runs through Dec. 16. The museum is open during the fall and spring semesters. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturday, noon – 4 p.m. or by appointment. For more information phone 2-1081.

Movable books were first created in the 13th century as tools both for studying anatomy, astronomy and for communicating secret codes and telling fortunes. By the 19th century, craftsmen created movable books to entertain children, but you will see in this exhibit that today’s movable books are not just for kids. Clever engineering feats with paper and glue produce all manner of technique and subject for the enjoyment of all.

Early examples from the Carel Chapmen Movable Book Collection are illustrated in the case below, to the right and along the back wall. Their makers employed simple cutouts, moving legs and arms, levers and tabs to illustrate the storyline, usually a children’s story. However, today’s pop-ups can be used to illustrate just about any subject, ranging from history and science to art, architecture and fashion. As they were in the past, contemporary engineered pop-ups are individually crafted and assembled by hand. (See the YouTube piece on the screen to the left.)

While this exhibit is ironic in its presentation (kinetic, tactile books open to single pages and frozen under glass for protection), we invite you to play with the examples in the back of the room and try your hand at making pop-up folds into cards or a book!

For more history about movable books, “A Concise History of Pop-up and Movable Books” by Ann Montanaro is available online (http://www.broward.org/library/bienes/lii13903.htm) through Rutgers University. A copy of the article is available in the back of the room. Lots of other resources for pop-ups (history and how-to’s) are accessible through the web as well.

Special thanks to Carel Chapman for the gift of more than 1,800 movable books to UNH. Due to the size of the collection, only a part of the collection has been fully cataloged. Records for those items are searchable through the UNH Library’s online catalog. Cataloging for the remainder of the collection should be complete by late 2012.

Thanks to Meredith Ricker from Digital Collections in Dimond Library for producing the pop-up video footage, with hand model help from Abby and Mylinda.