The Rabbit hOle, the $15 million “Explor-a-Storium” project in Kansas City spearheaded by former children’s booksellers Pete Cowdin and Deb Pettid, is moving closer to becoming a reality. If all goes according to plan, the grand opening of the immersive museum celebrating children’s literature will be in September 2023.
Not only will the Rabbit hOle, housed in a 165,000-square-foot building feature three-dimensional exhibits allowing visitors to enter beloved children’s books from the past century in American publishing, but it will also include a letterpress print shop and bindery, a story and writing lab, a resource library and reading room, a full-service bookstore, and a makerspace.
Last month, the Rabbit hOle kicked off the final phase of its capital campaign to raise the last $500,000 of its $15 million goal. “Years of planning, fundraising, designing, and building have brought us to this pivotal point,” Cowdin said in a release. “We’ve secured more than $14.3 million in capital funds to date and are in the final phases of construction. We want our community here at home and across the country to help bring us to the finish line.”
The campaign will run through the end of December; on November 18 a gala fundraising event in Kansas City featuring author Jon Scieszka and librarian Betsy Bird included a live auction of original art with donated by dozens of children’s book authors and illustrators ranging from Kate DiCamillo to Neil Gaiman responding to the suggested theme, "this is not a rabbit." The event’s official Dada theme was meant to play off of Scieszka’s recently released picture book, The Real Dada Mother Goose, illustrated by Julia Rothman. The event, organizers said, raised more than $30,000 total, with the hottest item at the auction —a drawing by Gaiman—selling for $1,110.
The Rabbit hOle has raised $318,000 to date of its goal of $500,000 by December 31.