International Museum of Cartoon Art moves to OSU Cartoon Research Library

Mort Walker’s International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA) will be moving its estimated 200,000 piece collection to the Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library creating the largest collection of original cartoon art in the world.

IMCA’s collection consists original drawings from all genres of cartoon art (comic strips, comic books, animation, editorial, advertising, sport, caricature, greeting cards, graphic novels, and illustrations), display figures, toys and collectibles, and works on film and tape, CDs, and DVDs.

IMCA was established in 1973 by Mort Walker, the creative force behind Beetle Bailey, as the first museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting cartoons. The museum opened in 1974 in a converted mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. Two years later, the museum relocated to a renovated castle in Rye Brook, New York, where the collection was displayed until 1992. At that time the city of Boca Raton, Florida invited the museum to construct a 52,000 square foot facility as part of an effort to attract cultural institutions to Palm Beach County. The museum was a very popular attraction with highly acclaimed exhibits, events and functions for the public. It was still paying off the cost of its construction when two of its financial backers went bankrupt creating a $5 million loss and causing the museum to close.

Lucy Shelton Caswell, professor and curator of the Cartoon Research Library, said that efforts are already underway to increase its space necessary to receive the additional art.

“We are honored that the IMCA’s board has placed its treasures in our care. It is critical that we have state-of-the-art gallery space to display IMCA’s collection appropriately. A gallery in the new facility will be named in honor of IMCA founder Mort Walker.

The Carton Research Library already boasts of an impressive collection. Currently the library has 250,000 original cartoons, 34,500 books, 51,000 serial titles, 2,800 linear feet of manuscript materials, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings and tear sheets.

More news as it develops.

4 thoughts on “International Museum of Cartoon Art moves to OSU Cartoon Research Library

  1. Congratulations are in order! Such an important collection deserves the care it will receive in the CRL.

  2. What happened to art pieces such as scultures? Do you still have one by Carey Boone Nelson? She would like to know.


  3. Hello,

    I am a franchise consultant. I remember years ago selling and also buying many great IMCA art pieces (replicas) online. I cannot seem to find any IMCA items online anymore. I think it would be a fantastic idea to continue to sell replica art pieces to the public so that millions of people could continue to love cartoons and do so in a very adult cultural way. Cartoons can be just as sophisticated as any Warhol, with an added dose of fun.

    I would like to venture further into the idea of selling IMCA franchises. Why not? People buy all kinds of franchises, and most of them are questionable as to if they will be profitable, but everyone loves cartoons. I believe a “Cartoon Art” gallery franchise would be the most fun franchise a person could own, and would most likely also be quite profitable as there are so many collectors out there.


    Randy Bolton

  4. I shall appreciate any information anyone has regarding the availability of a traveling show of cartoon art.

    Thank you!

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