In my opinion “the nickel,” the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (N.C.C.I.L.) on S. 1st & Cedar downtown is Abilene’s best museum. I just love it. I like the layout and look of it, and their exhibits are great. You might say, “Well, I don’t have kids, and it’s for kids, right?” But you were a kid once, right? Art is art, and the first art we usually see as children is in picture books. There are some fabulously illustrated ones. Seeing how the artists developed the illustrations is fascinating and entertaining.
Past artists have included:
Mike Berenstain — yes, of the Berenstain Bears books
Walter Wick — yes, of the “I Spy” books
Ezra Jack Keats — does “The Snowy Day” sound familiar?
Plus, they get great artists into town to speak — you just have to pay attention to when their talks are or you’ll miss it.
Coming in June, until September is a William Joyce exhibit (oh my Gosh, are you kidding me?!). Did I mention this museum is stinkin’ FREE?! (I always give a donation, but the fact that it’s free is great.) If y’all haven’t seen the Academy Award winning animated short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore yet, I highly recommend it.
They have a small children’s book reading area for children, and a small bookstore. Classes are also held here – children’s art activities and art camps.