A Hattiesburg resident has donated her collection amassed over 40 years of Beatrix Potter books and artifacts featuring the “Peter Rabbit” character to the University of Southern Mississippi’s internationally recognized de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.
JanetteKennedy Tibbitts, who serves as a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Southern Miss, will officially make the gift to the Collection Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. during a special ceremony at OLLI. The institute is located in the Peck House at 3601 Pearl Street on the west side of the Hattiesburg campus, where “The Sand Bank, A Beatrix Potter Collection” interactive exhibit will be housed.
“Janette Tibbitts has carved out a little piece of Peter Rabbit's world, which she has generously offered to the public. These are classic items, reminiscent of many peoples' childhoods,” said Ellen Ruffin, curator of the de Grummond Collection. “Those who come to view the ‘The Sand Bank’ collection will leave knowing more about Peter Rabbit and his creator, Beatrix Potter. We’re delighted to be a part of the experience.”
Tibbitts said she hopes the exhibit will serve not only as a wonderful journey down memory lane for adults who enjoyed Peter Rabbit as children, but as a way to promote reading among youth. “It is a collection you can escape into, be fed and comforted by, and has something for children of all ages,” she said.
Visitors will view “The Sand Bank” under the roots of a very large fir tree and "The Rabbits' Christmas Party" as they are invited to step down the "rabbit hole," which opens to Mrs. Rabbit's home and the collection. Highlights include two life-size prints, "The Arrival" and "The Departure" from Potter's 1880s designs for a set of Christmas cards entitled "The Rabbits' Christmas Party” which are at the center of the collection and credited as being her best composite paintings.
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.