What kid doesn’t love comic books, cartoons and comic strips? For this reason alone, a visit to the amazing Barker Character Comic and Cartoon Art Museum in Cheshire, Connecticut, is one that comes with a solid guarantee to entertain everyone. If it has something to do with comic books, animated movies and TV shows or newspaper strips, it is almost assured to be found inside this museum. This fascinating trip through the history of animated art, founded by Herb and Gloria Barker, continues to grow at an almost alarming rate. At last count, the collection of collectibles at the Barker Museum was well over 80,000 pieces.
Sure, a 1930s vintage, Popeye, burlap bag that was once used to haul popcorn to a cinema of bygone days probably won’t appeal to a lot of kids by itself, but it is the entirety of the collection that will make an impression. Sheer wonder is instilled by the recognition that all these classic cartoon and comic-strip characters have made their way into the cultural orbit of America from a tin pail featuring the likeness of Herman Munster to a 1930s blackboard featuring the likenesses of Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Pluto.
The Barker Museum is not just a chance for kids to browse through the history of pop culture; it also presents an opportunity for the shock of recognition of characters that adults have long forgotten. The underlying beauty of the museum is the revelation that things that are wildly important to kids eventually get tossed into the trash bin of memory. Only by being reminded through discovery do some of the characters that meant so much to you when you were a kid begin to resurrect themselves in your consciousness. The museum offers a perfect opportunity to remind kids today how they should take care to preserve their own memories while they have them, because so many of the items that are valued today will be relegated to the dustbin when they become adults.