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View art from Little Golden Books at Washington County Museum

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts opens the exhibition, “Golden Legacy: Original Art From 65 Years of Golden Books” on Nov. 7 in the Bowman Gallery, 91 Key St., Hagerstown, Md.

On loan from the National Center of Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Tex., the exhibition presents the most extensive public showing of original illustration art from American publishing’s best loved and most influential picture-book series, Little Golden Books — the history-making experiment that celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2007.

Launched in 1942, Little Golden Books made high quality illustrated books available at affordable prices for the first time to millions of young children and their parents. Sixty masterpieces of original artwork chosen from the Random House archive are featured in the exhibition, including examples from such picture-book classics as “The Poky Little Puppy,” “Tootle,” “Home for a Bunny,” “The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse,” “The Color Kittens,” “I Can Fly” and more.

On Nov. 7, the WCMFA will host “Opening Day: Golden Legacy Family Day Event,” a free event, from 10 a,m.-3 p.m. and including art activities, workshops, celebrity readers, the Washington County Free Library bookmobile, and more.

The following day, Nov. 8, Leonard S. Marcus will present “A New Deal for the Nursery: How Golden Books Became the Children’s Books That Everyone Grew Up With” at 2:30 p.m. in the Bowman Gallery. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door and seating is limited. Tickets can be purchased at

Marcus is a children’s book author, critic, and historian, with degrees in history from Yale University and poetry from the University of Iowa Graduate Writers’ Workshop. His books include “Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever and Became an American Icon Along the Way”; “Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing”; and “Maurice Sendak: A Celebration of the Artist and His Work.”

He has been a consultant to many organizations including the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Book Foundation, Norman Rockwell Museum and the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. He is a member of the national board of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature and the Mazza Museum national advisory board.

The exhibition runs through Jan. 17, 2016. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, from 9-a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.