Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum

The wife and I just came back from a mid-week vacation where we revisited a fascinating place that we stumbled across a few years back. The Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum located in Cheshire, CT is the country’s largest collection of comic strip, cartoon, TV, western and advertising collectibles. Their exhibits span fourteen decades from the 1870s to present day. The Museum is the personal collection of Herb and Gloria Barker. Herb was an avid collector of memorabilia but when his hobby outgrew their home, Gloria expressed her “desire” for him to find a new venue for his vast collection. In 1997 the Museum celebrated its grand opening and to this day continues to add great finds to the expansive display, never ceasing to evoke fond childhood memories for all ages.

Located adjacent to the Museum is one of the most renowned animation art galleries in the world, The Barker Animation, Fine Art & Sculptures Gallery. They feature America’s premier artists, working in a variety of genres which include classical, contemporary, whimsical and traditional. Some of the amazing pieces for sale included signed artwork from Chuck Jones, Iwao Takamoto and Bill Melendez…just to name a few.

Upon entering the Museum, we were greeted by our official tour guide, Jay Zabel. Unfortunately, we were also greeted by a large sign indicating “no photos allowed,” thus my hopes of being able to share this gem with readers at David-Wasting-Paper were dashed. Jay noticed our disappointment and suggested we seek special permission from the Gallery. I explained to Gallery Director, Allison Simcik, that my intention with the photos was to introduce the Museum and Gallery to my readership. She placed a phone call and upon verification of the nature of my blog, we were granted one-time approval to document our visit. Thank you!

Here is Jay standing in front of some very old Disney memorabilia.

Jay was not only knowledgeable about the thousands of items and their history, but he himself shared in our excitement and enthusiasm as we discovered lost childhood treasures throughout the tour. If you are ever in the Connecticut area, it is a must see for any comic or cartoon enthusiast…and tell them David-Wasting-Paper sent you!

Now on with the tour…be sure to click on the photos to view in greater detail...this is only a VERY small sample of what is at The Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum.

Yellow Kid cigarette promotional buttons.

Early Felix the Cat and Moon Mullins.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Fontaine Fox's "Toonerville Folks"

Daily Dime banks.

One of the many display cases of Popeye.

Little Lulu

They have whole walls of these "Frame-Tray" puzzles. I had this Secret Squirrel one when I was a kid.

Boy I sure wish I owned these "TV-TINYKINS" put out by Marx.

This is a great mural on one of the buildings on the grounds.

A close-up of a section of the mural.

I'd like to take a minute and thank my wife Patti, who was not only nice enough to go with me, but who also took all of the photographs.


john said...

It looks a great place...pity I live in the UK !!!!thanks for sharing it..

David said...

Your welcome John. Maybe you'll get over to the States one of these days.

richardcthompson said...

Very cool! Thank god for monomaniacs!

Chris Sabatino said...

This is awesome, David! I didn't even know about this place. I will be dragging my wife there very soon!!!!

P.L. Frederick said...

Holy crap! WOW, I had no idea. Why. Why. There's so much....

(Great photos, Patti.)

If a person was visiting for the first time, about how long might you recommend for the museum?

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

David said...

Paula, I'd plan at least one and a half to two hours for the Museum and another 1/2 to an hour for the Gallery. The pictures here are just the tip of the iceberg...they also have the original clay figures and props from Gumby, a whole room of lunchboxes, tons more of Disney, Popeye, boxed Halloween costumes, Soakies and much, much more.

P.L. Frederick said...

A person could almost take an hour to tour one display case. ;-)