It’s one of those nightmares lurking in the backs of the minds of almost every dealer or longtime collector… or, as it turns out, every museum executive director. During heavy rains, the Pittsburgh storage facility of the non-profit cartoon art museum the ToonSeum began to leak and flood.
“While no original artwork was stored at this site we did lose a great number of books, comics, exhibition reproductions and equipment. Much of these items were awaiting transfer to our new ToonSeum library on-site. This was a temporary offsite holding storage where we kept books and equipment awaiting cataloging and transfer. We also used this space to store event and workshop supplies and equipment,” said Joe Wos, executive director of the ToonSeum.
“It has not affected our day to day operations too much and I want to let everyone know neither the ToonSeum itself or any art was affected (as that is stored a climate controlled facility),” he said.
Right now their focus is on restoring books to their library. Comic book publishers Fantagraphics, DC/Vertigo, Hermes Press, and others have donated books, but the organization is seeking public support.
What the organization has achieved in the relatively short span of its existence is already no small thing. Over the past five years the ToonSeum has grown from a tiny space inside of another museum to a unique independent attraction in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, and in the process they have brought in some of the top cartoonists in the nation and staged over 40 exhibits.
Less than two weeks ago they opened “Will Eisner’s New York,” an exhibit on loan from Denis Kitchen and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA), and this summer will bring “Care Bears: 30 Years of Caring,” and “Pittsburgh is Gotham,” which ties into the upcoming release of The Dark Knight Rises, which filmed in the city. They also will host a number of workshops as well.
Tax-deductible donations from the public will help support the ToonSeum in dealing with their tough setback during what was already an ambitious time. There are several ways to give: via Razoo, via Paypal, or by sending a check to The ToonSeum, 945 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.