Janette Kennedy Tibbitts stands next to two paintings featuring the work of famed children’s literature artist Beatrix Potter, creator of the “Peter Rabbit” character, while holding a copy of a book about the famed rabbit prior to making official her donation of her vast collection of Potter books, painting and artifacts to the University of Southern Mississippi de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection Tuesday at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).
Tibbitts, a member of the board of directors for OLLI, amassed approximately 700 pieces of Potter items over a 40-year period. The collection is now housed at the OLLI headquarters, located in the Peck House at 3601 Pearl Street on the west side of the Hattiesburg campus, where visitors can find “The Sand Bank, A Beatrix Potter Collection” interactive exhibit.
“We’re looking forward to this new relationship with the de Grummond Collection, and to share with visitors from our area and beyond the wonderful work of Beatrix Potter,” Tibbitts said.
Hundreds of additional pieces of art and literature include a dozen Schmid musical boxes bearing designs from Potter's art; a Christmas tree decorated with porcelain reproductions of Potter's storybook characters; gifts beneath the tree that are games and toys she created and those authorized by her copyright; an extensive set of bone china Peter Rabbit Wedgwood; and antique Beswick porcelain figurines interspersed with numerous first, early and rare editions of her books. In addition, guests can listen to a reading of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit," meet Peter Rabbit, visit McGregor's garden and help him plant cabbages and sow radish seed.
Admission to the exhibit is free of charge and is available for viewing Monday-Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at other times for private and group viewing. For reservations and additional information call 601.261.1346, or contact the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at 601.266.4349. (Photo by Danny Rawls)