Pittsburgh’s Toonseum

It’s a catchy name for it — and I had high hopes of spending an afternoon exploring the history of cartoons and comics, and seeing some quirky examples from years past and perhaps an exploration of how cartoons and comics have evolved. Plus the art form — going from black and white to color, where and how they were published, and so on.

So, no. That’s not what the Toonseum is all about.

It’s a bad sign that the admissions dude also “gives you a tour,” only it’s to explain, almost apologetically I thought, that there are “political cartoons” in this room (and only from the current election debacle) and that the Captain America exhibit is “not that door, but the next.”

Ummm, okay. So it’s not a large museum. Two rooms. Which is as they claim: the Toonseum is a boutique museum, which is “quite small.” My fault for not reading through that and giving myself false expectations. They called it as it is: a boutique museum with rotating exhibits. And once you accept that, then it’s easier to enjoy the Toonseum for what it does offer: an exploration of different topics.

The “This Campaign is Yuuuge!” exhibit, featuring the “top political cartoonists” insight and humor about, mostly, Hillary Clinton and the Donald, runs through August 28. I enjoyed the political cartoons — almost all of which I hadn’t seen before — and I chuckled a few times as I moved through the exhibit.

The museum’s second exhibit focused on Captain America: 75 Years of the Sentinel of Liberty,” which examined some original comic art “and ephemera” celebrating America’s first Avenger.

I note, sadly, that there will be an upcoming exhibit that almost hits what I was looking for — it’s entitled, “Draw Me! The Art of the Cartooning Schools,” billed as an “historical exploration of a century of cartooning schools and instruction courses.” This exhibit will run from August 20 – October 23.

Also coming up is “To Boldly Go: The Graphic Art of Star Trek,” celebrating 50 years of voyages with the crew of the Starship Enterprise on the comic pages. This exhibit runs from October 28 to January 15. As a longtime Trekkie, I am also disappointed that I’ll miss this exhibit. I may have to go back.

Getting there: Do you still want to? Okay, it’s located at 945 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA.

Hours: Closed most major holidays ( New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence
Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day); otherwise, open Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm.

Website: www.toonseum.org

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